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 September 16, 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 September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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