Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Almost Good Enough To Eat: Food Taboos In Brazil

Date:
October 27, 2004
Source:
Ecological Society Of America
Summary:
Some of the first written evidence of food taboos can be found in Leviticus in the Bible, forbidding the consumption of fish and underwater creatures without fins or scales, among other dietary restrictions. Throughout the world in different cultures and religions, a variety of dietary restrictions exist. The origin of these rules is often debated.

Some of the first written evidence of food taboos can be found in Leviticus in the Bible, forbidding the consumption of fish and underwater creatures without fins or scales, among other dietary restrictions. Throughout the world in different cultures and religions, a variety of dietary restrictions exist. The origin of these rules is often debated. For Alpina Begossi, Natalia Hanazaki and Rossano Ramos (Universidade de Campinas, Brazil), the question of food taboos led to an investigation of the dietary restrictions among fishers in the Amazon and Atlantic Forest.

The researchers interviewed fishers in 18 coastal communities and along four Amazonian rivers. Begossi and colleagues interviewed adults as well as observed them on fishing trips, noted their diet, and the medicinal uses of fish.

The group discovered certain fish species, especially ones that predated other fish, were the most often mentioned as taboo, along with scaleless fish and Black prochilodus, a species that feeds at the bottom of rivers. Other species the communities avoided included catfish and piranha. The marine fishers on the Atlantic forest generally avoided tuna, rays, and sea catfish.

The researchers especially noticed that food taboos were different, depending on people's health status. Predatory fish are often tabooed for the ill, while fish that eat plant matter, invertebrates, or are omnivorous are recommended for consumption for ill people. These taboos held true for both the Amazonian fishers as well as the Atlantic Forest fishers.

According to Begossi, "Fish food taboos may have indigenous roots, or they may have been diffused through Portuguese colonists' contacts."

Food chain characteristics may help explain human food taboos, say the researchers. Most of the species avoided for the ill include species high on the food chain. These fish are more likely to accumulate toxins. The prohibitions on these species may be biologically adaptive for the people, suggest Begossi and colleagues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecological Society Of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ecological Society Of America. "Almost Good Enough To Eat: Food Taboos In Brazil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041027113643.htm>.
Ecological Society Of America. (2004, October 27). Almost Good Enough To Eat: Food Taboos In Brazil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041027113643.htm
Ecological Society Of America. "Almost Good Enough To Eat: Food Taboos In Brazil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041027113643.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins