TIME Diet/Nutrition

12 Recalled Foods Not to Eat This Week

Frozen Vegetable Lasagna
FDA Frozen Vegetable Lasagna

There were 17 food recalls in total this week

Every week lots of foods are pulled from grocery shelves for contamination. There were over a dozen recalls just this week, but since not every recall reported by the Food and Drug Administration makes headlines, we’ve listed them for you.

MORE Organic Frozen Foods Recalled Over Listeria Scare

Spinach
Brands: Simply Balanced, La Terra Fina, Cadia, Meijer, Wild Harvest and Wegmans
Contaminated with: Listeria
Several companies had recalls related to listeria-contaminated spinach this week. Simply Balanced and Cadia, Meijer, Wild Harvest and Wegmans brands recalled organic spinach packages. Wegmans had to recall up to 12,540 packages. La Terra Fina recalled spinach artichoke & parmesan dips and organic spinach dip.

Frozen meals
Brands: Amy’s Kitchen
Contaminated with: Listeria
Amy’s Kitchen, the popular frozen organic dinner company, voluntarily recalled over 73,890 cases of products due to possible contamination with listeria. Foods ranged from tofu vegetable lasagna to spinach pizza.

Ice cream
Brands: Blue Bell
Contaminated with: Listeria
The company made headlines earlier in March when five people in a Kansas hospital became ill, and three people died, from consuming Blue Bell ice cream products contaminated with listeria. This week, three flavors of 3 oz. ice cream cups were also recalled for possible contamination with the same bacteria.

Chocolate covered raisins and almonds
Brands: Lindt, Essential Everyday
Contaminated with: Undeclared hazelnuts and undeclared peanut allergen
Lindt recalled some of its 6.4 oz chocolate covered raisin bags and 6.4 oz chocolate covered almond bags for having undeclared hazelnuts. The products were sold in nine Lindt Chocolate Shop locations in the U.S. In addition, Supervalu Inc. recalled Essential Everyday chocolate covered raisins due to the presence of undeclared peanuts. Having undeclared nut allergens in products can be a serious a risk for people with nuts allergies.

Cod filets
Brands: Giant Eagle
Contaminated with: Undeclared soy
Giant Eagle recalled all lots of its name-brand Japanese Breaded Cod Fillets due to having undeclared soy, which is a risk for people who have soy allergies.

Paninis
Brands: Giant Eagle
Contaminated with: Undeclared egg
Giant Eagle recalled all lots of its name-brand Little Italy Paninis sold in its supermarkets due to having undeclared egg allergen, which is a risk for people with egg allergies.

Frozen Ravioli
Brands: Rising Moon Organics
Contaminated with: Listeria
Carmel Food Group recalled some of its Rising Moon Organics frozen ravioli items after it was discovered spinach from its supplier was contaminated with the bacteria listeria.

Walnuts
Brands: Aurora, Martin Food Products, Stop&Shop, Giant Carlisle Food Store, Giant of Maryland, Whole Foods Market
Contaminated with: Salmonella
Aurora Products, Inc. recalled its Natural Walnuts and Trail Mixes Containing Walnuts sold through the above retailers due to possible contamination with the bacteria salmonella.

Macadamia nuts
Brands: Nature’s Eats
Contaminated with: Salmonella
Texas Star Nut and Food Co. Inc. recalled Nature’s Eats macadamia nuts due to the detection of salmonella.

Kale and quinoa salad
Brands: Wawa
Contaminated with: Undeclared soy
Taylor Farms Florida Inc. recalled some of its Wawa brand Kale and Quinoa Salad due to undeclared soy in the dressing packet in the salad which could put people with soy allergies at risk.

Cookies
Brands: Giant Eagle
Contaminated with: Undeclared milk
Giant Eagle is recalling its Raisin Filled and Apricot Filled cookies which are sold in its supermarkets due to having undisclosed milk allergen, a risk for people with milk allergies.

O’Coconut products
Brands: Nutiva
Contaminated with:
Salmonella
Organic company, Nutiva, recalled O’Coconut products after learning they may be contaminated with salmonella.

Read next: Here’s the Terrifying Truth About Metal Shards in Your Food

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

Why We Like Food That Makes Noise

TIME.com stock photos Food Snacks Potato Chips
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

What your food 'sounds' like affects how good it tastes, a new study says

The crunch of a chip, the snap of a carrot, or the fizz of a freshly opened beverage may greatly influence just how good we think those foods taste, according to new flavor research.

Flavor perception is multi-sensory. “The flavor of food is reduced to a mere whisper when its scent is lost,” chef Molly Birnbaum once said. In a new report published in the journal Flavour, researcher Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University reviews a wide variety of research related to sound and flavor perception, and comes to the conclusion that what a food sounds like is incredibly important to the experience of eating it. That sound, he says, is the “forgotten flavor sense.”

“Our brains are all the time trying to pick up correlations in the environment,” says Spence. According to his research, people use sounds to assess how tasty food is, even if they don’t realize it. In one of the studies he highlights, consumers used the word “crisp” more than any other descriptor when they were asked to evaluate 79 foods. Another study completed in 2007 by University of Leeds researchers to determine just how important bacon crispiness is to a BLT, the lead researcher concluded: “We often think it’s the taste and smell of bacon that consumers find most attractive. But our research proves that texture and the crunching sound is just—if not more—important.”

Science has also shown that changing the sounds a food makes can influence a person’s perception of it. In his own prior research, Spence showed that people give carbonated beverages higher ratings when the sound of the bubbles popping becomes louder and more frequent.

But why is the way food sounds important to us? For one, Spence says it could be that sound is an indicator for texture and therefore quality. Texture can reveal how fresh food is. If an apple cracks crisply when it’s bitten into, instead of yielding without a snap, you know that’s a good sign.

Even soft foods, like bread, bananas or mousse can make subtle sounds when they’re bitten, sliced or plunged into with a spoon, and Spence says he believes the commercialization of sounds in the food industry may soon be growing in a big way.

“It’s going to start out with modernist chefs,” Spence predicts. Food modifications could also be used to help make food more pleasurable for the elderly whose overall senses may be decreasing, he adds.

Outside sound can also influence perception, and it doesn’t require much effort. “If I’m having Italian food and I’m hearing music of that region, it may make me perceive the food as more authentic,” he says. Even the ice cream company Häagen-Dazs launched an app where customers can scan their ice cream carton and listen to a violin concerto timed to allow the ice cream to soften.

Still, Spence says he largely feels like sound isn’t being considered in the food industry as often as it could be. A 2003 survey of 14o food scientists showed they rated sound as the least important attribute contributing to flavor. But as research continues to emerge and the industry continues to experiment, we may be listening to our food more often.

MONEY Food

One Image That Shows Just How Insane the Kraft Heinz Empire Will Be

That's a lot of food.

Now you can buy your ketchup and Cheez Whiz from the same company.

On Wednesday, Kraft Foods Group and H.J. Heinz Co. announced they would merge to form the world’s fifth largest food company. In addition to creating a massive global food conglomerate, this combination will put an absurd number of household brands under the same roof. Below, we’ve compiled an image of all the brands the new Kraft Heinz Company will own.

If it seems like we’re missing a few Kraft staples, like Oreos, Ritz, and Tang, that’s because those products were consolidated into a new company, Mondelēz International, when Kraft spun off its snack business from its North American grocery business in 2012. Because of that spinoff, exactly who owns what is a little confusing. For example, both Kraft and Mondelez include Philadelphia cream cheese on their brand pages, possibly because of a royalty agreement between the two corporations. In compiling our image, we used any brand listed by Kraft or Heinz on their respective websites.

Heinz and Kraft brands
Money

Click here for the full-size image.

TIME Burma

Are Slaves Catching the Fish You Buy?

In this Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 image from video, slaves from Burma lean over the deck of their trawler at the port in Benjina, Indonesia.
AP Slaves from Burma lean over the deck of their trawler at the port in Benjina, Indonesia, on Nov. 26, 2014

"These situations would be called modern slavery by any measure"

(BENJINA, Indonesia) — The Burmese slaves sat on the floor and stared through the rusty bars of their locked cage, hidden on a tiny tropical island thousands of miles from home.

Just a few yards away, other workers loaded cargo ships with slave-caught seafood that clouds the supply networks of major supermarkets, restaurants and even pet stores in the United States.

But the eight imprisoned men were considered flight risks — laborers who might dare run away. They lived on a few bites of rice and curry a day in a space barely big enough to lie down, stuck until the next trawler forces them back to sea.

“All I did was tell my captain I couldn’t take it anymore, that I wanted to go home,” said Kyaw Naing, his dark eyes pleading into an Associated Press video camera sneaked in by a sympathetic worker. “The next time we docked,” he said nervously out of earshot of a nearby guard, “I was locked up.”

Here, in the Indonesian island village of Benjina and the surrounding waters, hundreds of trapped men represent one of the most desperate links criss-crossing between companies and countries in the seafood industry. This intricate web of connections separates the fish we eat from the men who catch it, and obscures a brutal truth: Your seafood may come from slaves.

The men the AP interviewed on Benjina were mostly from Myanmar, also known as Burma, one of the poorest countries in the world. They were brought to Indonesia through Thailand and forced to fish. Their catch was then shipped back to Thailand, where it entered the global stream of commerce.

Tainted fish can wind up in the supply chains of some of America’s major grocery stores, such as Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway; the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart; and the biggest food distributor, Sysco. It can find its way into the supply chains of some of the most popular brands of canned pet food, including Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. It can turn up as calamari at fine dining restaurants, as imitation crab in a California sushi roll or as packages of frozen snapper relabeled with store brands that land on our dinner tables.

In a year-long investigation, the AP talked to more than 40 current and former slaves in Benjina. The AP documented the journey of a single large shipment of slave-caught seafood from the Indonesian village, tracking it by satellite to a gritty Thai harbor. Upon its arrival, AP journalists followed trucks that loaded and drove the seafood over four nights to dozens of factories, cold storage plants and the country’s biggest fish market.

The tainted seafood mixes in with other fish at a number of sites in Thailand, including processing plants. U.S. Customs records show that several of those Thai factories ship to America. They also sell to Europe and Asia, but the AP traced shipments to the U.S., where trade records are public.

By this time, it is nearly impossible to tell where a specific fish caught by a slave ends up. However, entire supply chains are muddied, and money is trickling down the line to companies that benefit from slave labor.

The major corporations contacted would not speak on the record but issued statements that strongly condemned labor abuses. All said they were taking steps to prevent forced labor, such as working with human rights groups to hold subcontractors accountable.

Several independent seafood distributors who did comment described the costly and exhaustive steps taken to ensure their supplies are clean. They said the discovery of slaves underscores how hard it is to monitor what goes on halfway around the world.

Santa Monica Seafood, a large independent importer that sells to restaurants, markets and direct from its store, has been a leader in improving international fisheries, and sends buyers around the world to inspect vendors.

“The supply chain is quite cloudy, especially when it comes from offshore,” said Logan Kock, vice president for responsible sourcing, who acknowledged that the industry recognizes and is working to address the problem. “Is it possible a little of this stuff is leaking through? Yeah, it is possible. We are all aware of it.”

The slaves interviewed by the AP had no idea where the fish they caught was headed. They knew only that it was so valuable, they were not allowed to eat it.

They said the captains on their fishing boats forced them to drink unclean water and work 20- to 22-hour shifts with no days off. Almost all said they were kicked, whipped with toxic stingray tails or otherwise beaten if they complained or tried to rest. They were paid little or nothing, as they hauled in heavy nets with squid, shrimp, snapper, grouper and other fish.

Some shouted for help over the deck of their trawler in the port to reporters, as bright fluorescent lights silhouetted their faces in the darkness.

“I want to go home. We all do,” one man called out in Burmese, a cry repeated by others. The AP is not using the names of some men for their safety. “Our parents haven’t heard from us for a long time. I’m sure they think we are dead.”

Another glanced fearfully over his shoulder toward the captain’s quarters, and then yelled: “It’s torture. When we get beaten, we can’t do anything back. … I think our lives are in the hands of the Lord of Death.”

In the worst cases, numerous men reported maimings or even deaths on their boats.

“If Americans and Europeans are eating this fish, they should remember us,” said Hlaing Min, 30, a runaway slave from Benjina. “There must be a mountain of bones under the sea. … The bones of the people could be an island, it’s that many.”

_______

For Burmese slaves, Benjina is the end of the world.

Roughly 3,500 people live in the town that straddles two small islands separated by a five-minute boat ride. Part of the Maluku chain, formerly known as the Spice Islands, the area is about 400 miles north of Australia, and hosts small kangaroos and rare birds of paradise with dazzling bright feathers.

Benjina is impossible to reach by boat for several months of the year, when monsoon rains churn the Arafura Sea. It is further cut off by a lack of Internet access. Before a cell tower was finally installed last month, villagers would climb nearby hills each evening in the hope of finding a signal strong enough to send a text. An old landing strip has not been used in years.

The small harbor is occupied by Pusaka Benjina Resources, whose five-story office compound stands out and includes the cage with the slaves. The company is the only fishing operation on Benjina officially registered in Indonesia, and is listed as the owner of more than 90 trawlers. However, the captains are Thai, and the Indonesian government is reviewing to see if the boats are really Thai-owned. Pusaka Benjina did not respond to phone calls and a letter, and did not speak to a reporter who waited for two hours in the company’s Jakarta office.

On the dock in Benjina, former slaves unload boats for food and pocket money. Many are men who were abandoned by their captains — sometimes five, 10 or even 20 years ago — and remain stranded.

In the deeply forested island interiors, new runaways forage for food and collect rainwater, living in constant fear of being found by hired slave catchers.

And just off a beach covered in sharp coral, a graveyard swallowed by the jungle entombs dozens of fishermen. They are buried under fake Thai names given to them when they were tricked or sold onto their ships, forever covering up evidence of their captors’ abuse, their friends say.

“I always thought if there was an entrance there had to be an exit,” said Tun Lin Maung, a slave abandoned on Benjina, as other men nodded or looked at the ground. “Now I know that’s not true.”

The Arafura Sea provides some of the world’s richest and most diverse fishing grounds, teeming with mackerel, tuna, squid and many other species.

Although it is Indonesian territory, it draws many illegal fishing fleets, including from Thailand. The trade that results affects the United States and other countries.

The U.S. counts Thailand as one of its top seafood suppliers, and buys about 20 percent of the country’s $7 billion annual exports in the industry. Last year, the State Department blacklisted Thailand for failing to meet minimum standards in fighting human trafficking, placing the country in the ranks of North Korea, Syria and Iran. However, there were no additional sanctions.

Thailand’s seafood industry is largely run off the backs of migrant laborers, said Kendra Krieder, a State Department analyst who focuses on supply chains. The treatment of some of these workers falls under the U.S. government’s definition of slavery, which includes forcing people to keep working even if they once signed up for the jobs, or trafficking them into situations where they are exploited.

“In the most extreme cases, you’re talking about someone kidnapped or tricked into working on a boat, physically beaten, chained,” said Krieder. “These situations would be called modern slavery by any measure.”

The Thai government says it is cleaning up the problem. On the bustling floor of North America’s largest seafood show in Boston earlier this month, an official for the Department of Fisheries laid out a plan to address labor abuse, including new laws that mandate wages, sick leave and shifts of no more than 14 hours. However, Kamonpan Awaiwanont stopped short when presented details about the men in Benjina.

“This is still happening now?” he asked. He paused. “We are trying to solve it. This is ongoing.”

The Thai government also promises a new national registry of illegal migrant workers, including more than 100,000 flooding the seafood industry. However, policing has now become even harder because decades of illegal fishing have depleted stocks close to home, pushing the boats farther and deeper into foreign waters.

The Indonesian government has called a temporary ban on most fishing, aiming to clear out foreign poachers who take billions of dollars of seafood from the country’s waters. As a result, more than 50 boats are now docked in Benjina, leaving up to 1,000 more slaves stranded onshore and waiting to see what will happen next.

Indonesian officials are trying to enforce laws that ban cargo ships from picking up fish from boats at sea. This practice forces men to stay on the water for months or sometimes years at a time, essentially creating floating prisons.

Susi Pudjiastuti, the new Fisheries Minister, said she has heard of different fishing companies putting men in cells. She added that she believes the trawlers on Benjina may really have Thai owners, despite the Indonesian paperwork, reflecting a common practice of faking or duplicating licenses.

She said she is deeply disturbed about the abuse on Benjina and other islands.

“I’m very sad. I lose my eating appetite. I lose my sleep,” she said. “They are building up an empire on slavery, on stealing, on fish(ing) out, on massive environmental destruction for a plate of seafood.”

_________

The story of slavery in the Thai seafood industry started decades ago with the same push-and-pull that shapes economic immigration worldwide — the hope of escaping grinding poverty to find a better life somewhere else.

In recent years, as the export business has expanded, it has become more difficult to convince young Burmese or Cambodian migrants and impoverished Thais — all of whom were found on Benjina — to accept the dangerous jobs. Agents have become more desperate and ruthless, recruiting children and the disabled, lying about wages and even drugging and kidnapping migrants, according to a former broker who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution.

The broker said agents then sell the slaves, usually to Thai captains of fishing boats or the companies that own them. Each slave typically costs around $1,000, according to Patima Tungpuchayakul, manager of the Thai-based nonprofit Labor Rights Promotion Network Foundation. The men are later told they have to work off the “debt” with wages that don’t come for months or years, or at all.

“The employers are probably more worried about the fish than the workers’ lives,” she said. “They get a lot of money from this type of business.”

Illegal Thai boats are falsely registered to fish in Indonesia through graft, sometimes with the help of government authorities. Praporn Ekouru, a Thai former member of Parliament, admitted to the AP that he had bribed Indonesian officials to go into their waters, and complained that the Indonesian government’s crackdown is hurting business.

“In the past, we sent Thai boats to fish in Indonesian waters by changing their flags,” said Praporn, who is also chairman of the Songkhla Fisheries Association in southern Thailand. “We had to pay bribes of millions of baht per year, or about 200,000 baht ($6,100) per month. … The officials are not receiving money anymore because this order came from the government.”

Illegal workers are given false documents, because Thai boats cannot hire undocumented crew. One of the slaves in Benjina, Maung Soe, said he was given a fake seafarer book belonging to a Thai national, accepted in Indonesia as an informal travel permit. He rushed back to his boat to dig up a crinkled copy.

“That’s not my name, not my signature,” he said angrily, pointing at the worn piece of paper. “The only thing on here that is real is my photograph.”

Soe said he had agreed to work on a fishing boat only if it stayed in Thai waters, because he had heard Indonesia was a place from which workers never came back.

“They tricked me,” he said. “They lied to me. … They created fake papers and put me on the boat, and now here I am in Indonesia.”

The slaves said the level of abuse on the fishing boats depends on individual captains and assistants. Aung Naing Win, who left a wife and two children behind in Myanmar two years ago, said some fishermen were so depressed that they simply threw themselves into the water. Win, 40, said his most painful task was working without proper clothing in the ship’s giant freezer, where temperatures drop to 39 degrees below zero.

“It was so cold, our hands were burning,” he said. “No one really cared if anyone died.”

________

The shipment the AP tracked from the port of Benjina carried fish from smaller trawlers; AP journalists talked to slaves on more than a dozen of them.

A crane hoisted the seafood onto a refrigerated cargo ship called the Silver Sea Line, with an immense hold as big as 50 semi-trucks. At this point, by United Nations and U.S. standards, every fish in that hold is considered associated with slavery.

The ship belongs to the Silver Sea Reefer Co., which is registered in Thailand and has at least nine refrigerated cargo boats. The company said it is not involved with the fishermen.

“We only carry the shipment and we are hired in general by clients,” said owner Panya Luangsomboon. “We’re separated from the fishing boats.”

The AP followed the Silver Sea Line by satellite over 15 days to Samut Sakhon. When it arrived, workers on the dock packed the seafood over four nights onto more than 150 trucks, which then delivered their loads around the city.

One truck bore the name and bird logo of Kingfisher Holdings Ltd., which supplies frozen and canned seafood around the world. Another truck went to Mahachai Marine Foods Co., a cold storage business that also supplies to Kingfisher and other exporters, according to Kawin Ngernanek, whose family runs it.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” said Kawin, who also serves as spokesman for the Thai Overseas Fisheries Association. “Kingfisher buys several types of products.”

When asked about abusive labor practices, Kingfisher did not answer repeated requests for comment. Mahachai manager Narongdet Prasertsri responded, “I have no idea about it at all.”

Every month, Kingfisher and its subsidiary KF Foods Ltd. sends about 100 metric tons of seafood from Thailand to America, according to U.S. Customs Bills of Lading. These shipments have gone to Santa Monica Seafood, Stavis Seafoods — located on Boston’s historic Fish Pier — and other distributors.

Richard Stavis, whose grandfather started the dealership in 1929, shook his head when told about the slaves whose catch may end up at businesses he buys from. He said his company visits processors and fisheries, requires notarized certification of legal practices and uses third-party audits.

“The truth is, these are the kind of things that keep you up at night,” he said. “That’s the sort of thing I want to stop. … There are companies like ours that care and are working as hard as they can.”

Wholesalers like Stavis sell packages of fish, branded and unbranded, that can end up on supermarket shelves with a private label or house brand. Stavis’ customers also include Sysco, the largest food distributor in the U.S.; there is no clear way to know which particular fish was sold to them.

Sysco declined an interview, but the company’s code of conduct says it “will not knowingly work with any supplier that uses forced, bonded, indentured or slave labor.”

Gavin Gibbons, a spokesman for National Fisheries Institute, which represents about 75 percent of the U.S. seafood industry, said the reports of abuse were “disturbing” and “disheartening.” ”But these type of things flourish in the shadows,” he said.

A similar pattern repeats itself with other shipments and other companies, as the supply chain splinters off in many directions in Samut Sakhon. It is in this Thai port that slave-caught seafood starts to lose its history.

The AP followed another truck to Niwat Co., which sells to Thai Union Manufacturing Co., according to part owner Prasert Luangsomboon. Weeks later, when confronted about forced labor in their supply chain, Niwat referred several requests for comment to Luangsomboon, who could not be reached for further comment.

Thai Union Manufacturing is a subsidiary of Thai Union Frozen Products PCL., the country’s largest seafood corporation, with $3.5 billion in annual sales. This parent company, known simply as Thai Union, owns Chicken of the Sea and is buying Bumble Bee, although the AP did not observe any tuna fisheries. In September, it became the country’s first business to be certified by Dow Jones for sustainable practices, after meeting environmental and social reviews.

Thai Union said it condemns human rights violations, but multiple stakeholders must be part of the solution. “We all have to admit that it is difficult to ensure the Thai seafood industry’s supply chain is 100 percent clean,” CEO Thiraphong Chansiri said in an emailed statement.

Thai Union ships thousands of cans of cat food to the U.S., including household brands like Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. These end up on shelves of major grocery chains, such as Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons, as well as pet stores; again, however, it’s impossible to tell if a particular can of cat food might have slave-caught fish.

Thai Union says its direct clients include Wal-Mart, which declined an interview but said in an email statement: “We care about the men and women in our supply chain, and we are concerned about the ethical recruitment of workers.”

Wal-Mart described its work with several non-profits to end forced labor in Thailand, including Project Issara, and referred the AP to Lisa Rende Taylor, its director. She noted that slave-caught seafood can slip into supply chains undetected at several points, such as when it is traded between boats or mingles with clean fish at processing plants. She also confirmed that seafood sold at the Talay Thai market — to where the AP followed several trucks — can enter international supply chains.

“Transactions throughout Thai seafood supply chains are often not well-documented, making it difficult to estimate exactly how much seafood available on supermarket shelves around the world is tainted by human trafficking and forced labor,” she said.

Poj Aramwattananont, president of an industry group that represents Thai Union, Kingfisher and others, said Thais are not “jungle people” and know that human trafficking is wrong. However, he acknowledged that Thai companies cannot always track down the origins of their fish.

“We don’t know where the fish come from when we buy from Indonesia,” said Poj of the Thai Frozen Foods Association. “We have no record. We don’t know if that fish is good or bad.”

______

The seafood the slaves on Benjina catch may travel around the world, but their own lives often end right here, in this island village.

A crude cemetery holds more than graves strangled by tall grasses and jungle vines, where small wooden markers are neatly labelled, some with the falsified names of slaves and boats. Only their friends remember where they were laid to rest.

In the past, former slave Hla Phyo said, supervisors on ships simply tossed bodies into the sea to be devoured by sharks. But after authorities and companies started demanding that every man be accounted for on the roster upon return, captains began stowing corpses alongside the fish in ship freezers until they arrived back in Benjina, the slaves said.

Lifting his knees as he stepped over the thick brush, Phyo searched for two grave markers overrun by weeds — friends he helped bury.

It’s been five years since he himself escaped the sea and struggled to survive on the island. Every night, his mind drifts back to his mother in Myanmar. He knows she must be getting old now, and he desperately wants to return to her. Standing among so many anonymous tombs stacked on top of each other, hopelessness overwhelms him.

“I’m starting to feel like I will be in Indonesia forever,” he said, wiping a tear away. “I remember thinking when I was digging, the only thing that awaits us here is death.”

TIME World

This Road in China Got Covered in Almost 15,000 Lb. of Live Catfish

Thousands Of Kilograms Of Catfish Scatter In Kaili
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images Thousands of kilograms of catfish scatter across the road in the Kaili Development Zone in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture on March 17, 2015, in Kaili, Guizhou province of China

Bringing a whole new meaning to the term street food

When the door of a delivery truck in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou swung open, 15,000 lb. (6,800 kg) of catfish came spilling out, covering the road in a flopping, scaly mess.

Remarkably, with the help of community members and the local fire department, a two-hour rescue effort was undertaken and the shipment was not wasted, according to the Shanghaiist. Their task was arduous but simple — workers basically sprayed the fish with water to keep them alive while others picked them up and returned them to the truck.

And thanks to their efforts, these fish out of water finally made it to the dinner table.

Thousands Of Kilograms Of Catfish Scatter In Kaili
ChinaFotoPress—Getty ImagesWith the help of fire crews of Development Zone Squadron in Qiandongnan Fire Detachment and local people, the catfish were loaded on the truck again.
ChinaFotoPress—Getty ImagesThousands of kilograms of catfish scatter across the road in the Kaili Development Zone in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture on March 17, 2015 in Kaili, Guizhou province of China

[Shanghaiist]

TIME Vanuatu

Vanuatu Faces Food Shortages After Cyclone Pam Devastates Crops

A worker chops up fallen trees next to a destroyed boat at a resident's compound days after Cyclone Pam in Port Vila, capital city of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu March 19, 2015.
Edgar Su—Reuters A worker chops up fallen trees next to a destroyed boat at a resident's compound days after Cyclone Pam in Port Vila, capital city of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu March 19, 2015.

Aid agencies are rushing to deliver desperately needed supplies

Survivors of Cyclone Pam on the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu are bracing for a lack of food over the coming months because crops were destroyed in the recent storm.

Much of the archipelago’s population relies on subsistence farming and when the monster cyclone ripped through the country last week it wiped out livelihoods as well as homes.

“There’s always a lot of attention in the beginning, the first few weeks of a big disaster. But now, we’re looking at a hunger gap over the next three to six months,” said World Vision’s emergency-operations manager in Vanuatu, Alex Snary.

Aid agencies are rushing to deliver desperately needed supplies, especially to communities on the remote outer islands, which are still out of contact.

At least 11 people were killed in the disaster and 3,3000 displaced.

“It’s almost miraculous [on Tanna Island] that there isn’t a large number of casualties, given what they’ve been through,” Snary said. Several aid groups including USAID and World Vision have been working with local communities on disaster preparedness, so many people had evacuation plans in place when the storm came.

Aid groups stress the death toll could rise as news comes in from more of the 80 islands, but Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Joe Natuman believes the number won’t rise significantly.

“The important thing is that the people survived,” he told Reuters. “If the people survived, we can rebuild.”

Although full damage assessments are yet to be completed, current aerial and ground views show 90% of homes and community buildings including hospitals, schools and churches on the southern Tanna Island have been severely damaged. There is also widespread destruction on the islands of Efate (where the capital Port Vila is located) and Erromango Island.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the country’s national disaster committee deputy chairman Benjamin Shing hit out at aid groups over a lack of coordination, saying they wasted precious time in getting aid to affected communities, reports Agence France-Presse.

“I have to state the facts. We have seen this time and time again,” he said in Port Vila. “In nearly every country in the world where they go in they have their own operational systems, they have their own networks and they refuse to conform to government directives.”

TIME Food Safety

Here’s the Terrifying Truth About Metal Shards in Your Food

Inexpensive food from an industrialized food system has its downsides

Kraft Foods is recalling 242,000 cases of its Macaroni & Cheese product because “metal shards” have been found in some boxes. The recall is getting lots of attention both because of the size of the recall and because the product is so popular. But contamination of food with foreign objects, and metal pieces in particular, happens more often than you might think.

In January, Unibright Foods recalled about 50,000 pounds of prepared meat products that were shipped to seven U.S. states after it was discovered that packages might contain what the Department of Agriculture called “extraneous metal materials.” A restaurant in Illinois discovered a piece of stainless steel wire in one of the sukiyaki beef products.

Last June, Wegmans recalled 6,000 bags of ice sold in its stores across the northeast over a period of more than five months that contained metal pieces from a broken machine part. In that case, contaminated bags of ice were discovered by the company itself, and no shards were found in ice that was actually sold.

In 2012, metal pieces in private-label products made by Bay Valley Foods, resulted in a recall of 74,000 cases of boxed pasta mix products, including macaroni and cheese.

That same year, Kellogg recalled 2.8 million boxes of Bite Size Frosted and Unfrosted Mini-Wheats when “due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh from a faulty manufacturing part.” The boxes were distributed across the country.

And those are just a few of the cases of metal contamination over the past few years. Nobody knows exactly how often that particular problem occurs. But while food recalls involving disease-causing agents like E. coli and salmonella get the most attention, recalls due to the contamination of foreign objects are far from rare.

It’s perhaps not so surprising that metal pieces end up in food products, given our industrialized food system. When a piece of machinery breaks off in an electronics factory or an automotive plant, that’s a problem. When it happens in the food chain, that’s downright dangerous, though apparently few deaths or serious injuries have been reported from such contamination.

Some companies are taking steps to reduce the problem, including some highly sophisticated ones like ultrasound and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques. Production lines have been reconfigured and redesigned to minimize the number of parts that have metal moving against metal. |

But as long as we want a the wide variety of inexpensive food we get from our industrialized food system, the hazards of metal and other foreign objects making their way into our food supply will remain.

Read next: How Kraft’s Mac and Cheese Recall Will Affect Its Stock Price

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TIME Vanuatu

Relief Groups Rush Aid to Vanuatu’s Cyclone-Stricken Islands

(PORT VILA, VANUATU) — Relief workers rushed to deliver desperately needed food and water Wednesday to survivors living on Vanuatu’s outer islands, after a monstrous cyclone wiped out entire villages and flattened vast swathes of the South Pacific nation’s landscape.

Teams of aid workers and government officials were planning to send a boat packed with supplies to hard-hit Tanna Island, where aerial assessments showed more than 80 percent of homes or buildings had been partially or completely destroyed by Cyclone Pam.

Lack of food was a growing worry for those who survived the storm, which packed winds of 270 kilometers (168 miles) per hour when it struck Saturday.

“Everyone in Tanna and other islands in the south, they really live subsistence lives, so they grow what they need for a short period. … And the reality is that much of that would have been washed away by this storm,” said Tom Perry, spokesman for CARE Australia. “That’s a grave concern because we desperately need to get food to people soon.”

Flyover crews who surveyed the outer islands saw a flattened landscape and widespread destruction, with survivors below trying to signal them for help, said Colin Collett van Rooyen, Vanuatu director for aid group Oxfam.

Teams of aid workers and government officials carrying medical and sanitation supplies, water, food and shelter equipment finally managed to land on Tanna and neighboring Erromango Island on Tuesday, after being stymied in their efforts for days by poor weather and a breakdown in the nation’s communications networks. The two islands were directly in the path of the storm.

An aerial assessment showed extensive damage on Erromango, with communities ranging from 70 percent to 100 percent destroyed on the archipelago’s fourth-largest island. On other islands, Collett van Rooyen said plane crews saw people had made big, white “H” marks on the ground in multiple villages, and people on Tongoa island flashed mirrors to attract attention.

Radio and telephone communications with the outer islands were just beginning to be restored, but remained patchy four days after Cyclone Pam tore through the islands.

Meanwhile, fears of a measles outbreak prompted aid workers to launch an emergency vaccination drive for children across Vanuatu, which has low rates of immunization and already suffered one outbreak of the disease earlier this month. Teams were traveling to evacuation centers and other storm-ravaged areas around Port Vila to vaccinate children, provide Vitamin A and hand out bed nets to help stave off mosquito-borne malaria, according to UNICEF.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that 11 people were confirmed dead, including five on Tanna, lowering their earlier report of 24 casualties after realizing some of the victims had been counted more than once. Officials with the National Disaster Management Office said they had no accurate figures on how many were dead, and aid agencies reported varying numbers.

The confusion reflects the difficulty of handling a disaster that struck whole communities on remote islands with a near-total communications blackout.

“Vanuatu is a challenging place at the best of times, in the sense of getting around and logistics,” Perry said. “So a situation like this is pretty testing.”

Baldwin Lonsdale, Vanuatu’s president, returned to his country on Tuesday night from Japan, where had been attending a U.N. disaster conference when the cyclone struck.

“I trust the people of Vanuatu. I trust my government. I trust the people that they will stand united together as a nation and to rebuild the nation,” he said.

Poor weather and communications issues have hampered relief workers efforts to reach the outer islands for days. Most of the islands have no airports and those that do have only small landing strips that are tricky for large supply planes to navigate. On the main island of Efate, bridges were down outside Port Vila, impeding vehicle traffic.

“There are over 80 islands that make up Vanuatu and on a good, sunny day outside of cyclone season it’s difficult to get to many of them,” said Collett van Rooyen of Oxfam.

The destruction on Tanna was significantly worse than in the nation’s capital of Port Vila, where Pam destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings, Perry said.

“The airport was badly damaged, the hospital was badly damaged but still functioning … there’s one doctor there at the moment,” he said. “It’s obviously a pretty trying situation.”

Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 people. About 47,000 people live in the capital.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 3,300 people were sheltering in dozens of evacuation centers on the main island of Efate and in the provinces of Torba and Penama.

___

Associated Press writer Kristen Gelineau in Sydney contributed to this report.

TIME World

250-Year-Old Pretzel Found in Germany

The remains of 250-year old pretzels at the History Museum in Regensburg on March 9, 2015.
Armin Weigel—AP The remains of 250-year-old pretzels at the History Museum in Regensburg, Germany, on March 9, 2015

It's been called an “archaeological sensation”

Archaeologists say a 250-year-old pretzel unearthed in Germany could be the oldest-known knotted dough discovered in Europe.

Silvia Codreanu-Windauer, of the Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites, told NBC News it was an “archaeological sensation” made during excavations last summer in Regensburg. “In my 30 years in the business I have never found an organic object.” The discoverers found the pretzel along with other fragments, croissant-shaped dough and rolls that were carbon dated to between 1700 and 1800.

“The baked goods, which were typical for the religious fasting period, are very well preserved because they were originally burnt in the baking process,” Codreanu-Windauer said.

[NBC News]

TIME Diet/Nutrition

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