Fast Food 

SPUD comes to the corridor

Glacier Organics, the Squamish-based organic food delivery company, is now Small Potatoes.

Rob Guest, Glacier Organic’s former owner, recently sold the business to Small Potatoes Urban Delivery (SPUD), a home-delivery service for organic produce and other groceries. SPUD, which is based in Vancouver, is continuing Glacier Organics’ business and serving Squamish and Whistler.

"SPUD is growing quickly to meet demand and we are excited to now be serving so many customers in Squamish and Whistler," said David Van Seters, president. "With the addition of Glacier Organics’ customers we are now able to offer even more flexibility and greater service in the Sea to Sky corridor."

SPUD began operations in March of 1998. It claims to be the first home delivery system fully accessible over the Internet – www.spud.ca. You can also order by phone (1-877-473-5001, ext. 228) or fax (604-215-1264.

Potter sells out

Teen wizard Harry Potter is hawking a mainstream beverage, and it ain’t pumpkin juice or butterbeer.

Community groups around the world have joined forces to voice their opposition against a Coca-Cola marketing campaign featuring A.K. Rowling’s famed Harry Potter, the star of four best-selling children’s books.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Coca-Cola paid Warner Brothers – which is releasing a movie version of the first Harry Potter book next month – $150 million U.S. for the global marketing rights for the film and any sequels.

The groups are concerned that Coca-Cola is using the popular Harry Potter character to sell more soft drinks, which in excess "contributes to obesity and diabetes, reduced nutrient intake, and tooth decay," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the CSPI.

More than 40 organizations have joined in the protest, and have started a Web site – www.saveharry.com – to collect public support.

In its defence, Coca-Cola said it will contribute more than $18 million to a program that promotes reading to children.

A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered that 20 years ago, children drank twice as much milk as soft drinks, while today it’s just the opposite.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone opens in mid-November.

Mad Cow disease just mad at cows?

A British scientist is questioning the link between "Mad Cow: disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a variant of Mad Cow found in humans.

George Venters, a public health consultant in Scotland, believes there is no evidence to prove that the same prion – an infectious protein that causes Mad Cow disease in cows – can trigger CJD.

If JCD was in fact caused by Mad Cow, he argues that the rate of infection among humans should be much higher. In an article in the British Medical Journal, he called on the medical community to treat CJD as a new disease, or prove the link.

Obesity cure in the works

There’s two kinds of fat in this world – the healthy brown fat and the unseemly white fat. The white fat is the kind you store for an un-rainy day, while the brown fat is the kind you quickly burn.

If the accidental findings at the McGill Cancer Centre are correct, then we may be a few years away from a drug that can convert white fat to brown fat – in essence a cure for obesity.

A team of molecular biologists were investigating whether a protein contributed to the development of cancer by breeding mice lacking the gene that inhibits the production of said protein. They expected the mice to develop tumours, but wound up with thin, high-energy mice with metabolic rates about 15 per cent higher than regular mice.

Although it will require years of testing, it may be possible to develop a drug that could produce the same effect in people.

Retailers ask for minimum wage exemptions

Last year the NDP government approved two wage increases that would put the minimum wage at $8 starting Nov. 1, 2001 – the highest in Canada. Retailers and the service industry were initially opposed, claiming it would raise costs, and force them to rethink their staffing levels. They also said the wage increase would make them less likely to hire and train unskilled workers, the same people the wage increase was meant to help.

With the increase only weeks away, Retail B.C. is asking the Liberal government to create a special, lower wage for entry-level employees that would be below the minimum wage, but would increase after the employee had spent a pre-determined amount of time on the job.

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