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CES: Impossible to make pork Kosher and Halal? Not for Impossible Foods

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Impossible Foods took the next impossible step in food creation today at CES in Las Vegas: providing a first taste of Impossible Pork, a plant-based version of the world’s most ubiquitous meat. It is described as “a delicious, nutritious, gluten-free, plant-based ground meat that can be used in any recipe that calls for ground pork from pigs”.

It also launched Impossible Sausage, “a juicy, savoury meat that pairs perfectly with traditional breakfast accompaniments or steals the show as a centre-of-the-plate delicacy at any meal”. The plant-based, pre-seasoned product can be used in any recipe or dish that calls for animal-derived sausage. 

The company says Impossible Sausage contains no gluten, no animal hormones and no antibiotics. A raw, 57g serving has 7g protein, 1.69mg iron, 0mg cholesterol, 9g total fat, 4g saturated fat and 130 calories. Conventional raw pork sausage made from pigs contains 7g protein, 0.36mg iron, 40mg cholesterol, 21g total fat, 7g saturated fat and 220 calories.

Impossible Sausage will debut in late January exclusively at 139 Burger King restaurants in five test regions in the United States.
Impossible Foods provided the following details on Impossible Pork’s taste, nutrition and versatility:

Taste: Impossible Pork is delicious in any ground meat dish, including spring rolls, stuffed vegetables, dumplings, wontons or sausage links. Like ground meat from pigs, Impossible Pork is characterized by its mild savoury flavour, adding delicate depth and umami richness without being gamey or overpowering.

Nutrition: Impossible Pork contains no gluten, no animal hormones and no antibiotics. It has 16 g protein, 3 mg iron, 0 mg cholesterol, 13 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat and 220 calories in a 4-oz. serving. Conventional 70/30 pork from animals contains 17 g protein, 1 mg iron, 86 mg cholesterol, 32 g total fat, 11 g saturated fat and 350 calories in a 4-oz. serving.

Versatility: Impossible Pork is easy to cook in the steamer, oven, charbroiler, flat-top grill or sauté pan. Chefs can use Impossible Pork in recipes from stir-fry to meatballs to dim sum or links. Impossible Pork is designed to be eligible for kosher and halal certification if produced in a kosher- or halal-certified plant. 

Based in Redwood City, California, Impossible Foods “uses modern science and technology to create delicious food, restore natural ecosystems and feed a growing population sustainably”. The company makes meat from plants, with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. 

Shortly after its founding in 2011, Impossible Foods scientists discovered that one molecule — “heme” — is primarily responsible for the flavours that result when meat is cooked. The scientists genetically engineer and ferment yeast to produce a heme protein naturally found in plants, called soy leghemoglobin.

The heme in Impossible products is identical to the essential heme humans consume in meat but requires far fewer resources because it is made from plants.

Impossible Foods became the first food company ever featured at CES one year ago, when the startup launched Impossible Burger 2.0 – the first major product upgrade since Impossible Burger’s 2016 debut. it won the most significant prizes at CES 2019 and received Popular Science’s 2019 grand award for engineering. 

At CES this week, Impossible Foods is giving away about 25,000 samples at a pop-up restaurant that will operate 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Jan. 7-9 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 10 in the Central Plaza of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

* For a full list of locations that sell Impossible products, visit impossiblefoods.com.

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SA’s Internet goes down again

South Africa is about to experience a small repeat of the lower speeds and loss of Internet connectivity suffered in January, thanks to a new undersea cable break, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Internet service provider Afrihost has notified customers that there are major outages across all South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as a result of a break in the WACS undersea cable between Portugal and England 

The cause of the cable break along the cable is unclear. it marks the second major breakage event along the West African Internet sea cables this year, and comes at the worst possible time: as South Africans grow heavily dependent on their Internet connections during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

As a result of the break, the use of international websites and services, which include VPNs (virtual private networks), may result in latency – decreased speeds and response times.  

WACS runs from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, up the West Coast of Africa, and terminates in the United Kingdom. It makes a stop in Portugal before it reaches the UK, and the breakage is reportedly somewhere between these two countries. 

The cable is owned in portions by several companies, and the portion where the breakage has occurred belongs to Tata Communications. 

The alternate routes are:  

  • SAT3, which runs from Melkbosstrand also in the Western Cape, up the West Coast and terminates in Portugal and Spain. This cable runs nearly parallel to WACS and has less Internet capacity than WACS. 
  • ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), which also runs up the West Coast.  
  • The SEACOM cable runs from South Africa, up the East Coast of Africa, terminating in both London and Dubai.  
  • The EASSy cable also runs from South Africa, up the East Coast, terminating in Sudan, from where it connects to other cables. 

The routes most ISPs in South Africa use are WACS and SAT3, due to cost reasons. 

The impact will not be as severe as in January, though. All international traffic is being redirected via alternative cable routes. This may be a viable method for connecting users to the Internet but might not be suitable for latency-sensitive applications like International video conferencing. 

Read more about the first Internet connectivity breakage which happened on the same cable, earlier this year. 

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SA cellphones to be tracked to fight coronavirus

Several countries are tracking cellphones to understand who may have been exposed to coronavirus-infected people. South Africa is about to follow suit, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From Israel to South Korea, governments and cell networks have been implementing measures to trace the cellphones of coronavirus-infected citizens, and who they’ve been around. The mechanisms countries have used have varied.  

In Iran, citizens were encouraged to download an app that claimed to diagnose COVID-19 with a series of yes or no questions. The app also tracked real-time location with a very high level of accuracy, provided by the GPS sensor. 

In Germany, all cellphones on Deutsche Telekom are being tracked through cell tower connections, providing a much coarser location, but a less invasive method of tracking. The data is being handled by the Robert Koch Institute, the German version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In Taiwan, those quarantined at home are tracked via an “electronic fence”, which determines if users leave their homes.  

In South Africa, preparations have started to track cellphones based on cell tower connections. The choice of this method is understandable, as many South Africans may either feel an app is too intrusive to have installed, or may not have the data to install the app. This method also allows more cellphones, including basic feature phones, to be tracked. 

This means that users can be tracked on a fairly anonymised basis, because these locations can be accurate to about 2 square kilometers. Clearly, this method of tracking is not meant to monitor individual movements, but rather gain a sense of who’s been around which general area.  

This data could be used to find lockdown violators, if one considers that a phone connecting in Hillbrow for the first 11 days of lockdown, and then connecting in Morningside for the next 5, likely indicates a person has moved for an extended period of time. 

The distance between Hillbrow and Morningside is 17km. One would pass through several zones covered by different towers.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that South African network providers have agreed to provide government with location data to help fight COVID-19. 

Details on how the data will be used, and what it will used to determine, are still unclear. 

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