Friday, 18 April 2008

Berry suspicious

While I was sprinkling Tibetan goji berries on my muesli this morning (actually, I lie, it was this afternoon), I pondered if eating them would be helpful or harmful to the people of Tibet. The fact that on the packaging it says: "Grown in Tibet (Product of China)" conjured up visions of Tibetan exploitation at the hands of the Chinese eager to supply Western markets with "the world´s highest antioxidant food!".

According to the "naturally goji" packaging: "The Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) test is one of the most accurate ways to measure the levels of antioxidants in food. Goji berries contain an amazing 25 300 ORAC units per 100g, which is the highest antioxidant score of all kown foods. In comparison, blueberries contain 2 400 ORAC units per 100g."

Whatever. I received my goji berries as a gift from Kim on her recent visit. But they haven´t worked for her: during her stay she discovered that she is allergic to said berries (not to put too fine a point on it, they make her puke).

Now, I would never advocate using Wikipedia as a reliable source, but their article on goji berries does ring more true than the marketing drivel on sites such as this one.

Some of the more pertinent points:
* The goji berry is also known as the wolfberry or snowberry.
* Many goji berries are claimed to be "organic" when they are no such thing. (I no longer trust the USDA Organic sticker on my package of berries. I also find it suspicious that the original best before date, Oct 2008, has a sticker over it that reads: Oct 2009.)
* There is no such fruit as the "Tibetan" goji berry. This is a myth dreamed up by health-food marketers. "Tibetan" goji berries are most likely grown in China.
* Read more about the goji-berry scam here.

I guess I´ll finish my packet of goji berries. They´re kinda tasty and, although they don´t agree with Kim´s sensitive stomach, at least they´re not making me sick. But I don´t think I´ll be buying more any time soon. And I´m sure as hell hoping Manto doesn´t find out about them.


Bec said...

how dare you impugn the veracity of wikipedia's endless wisdom??

i wouldn't have a thesis without wikipedia. ahhh, wikidemia. Gotta love it.

Bec said...

ps berry weak pun in title made me laugh

TM said...

I´m not often very funny, but I´m always berry punnny, as my gran always said. Damnit, it´s in the genes!

Wangbu said...

Hello! I am a reader from the Philippines. I found your site very interesting. It is worth the visit.

TM said...

Thanks Wangbu - have checked out your blog. Competition looks like fun!

Lieze said...

Tea, I've never even heard of Goji berries...I was out-berried in Slovakia, where there were just millions of different kinds, I didn't even know that gooseberries came in different colours! (I blame it on the lack of berries in the highveld.)

I'm worried about them changing the best before date though, and also all this hooha about Organic. Just a big marketing scham. People will do anything for money. I say, grow your own!

Lieze said...

If organic farming is the natural way, shouldn't organic produce just be called "produce" and make the pesticide-laden stuff take the burden of an adjective? ~Ymber Delecto

TM said...

Good point. However you label it, I think our wine farm should be organic though!