Category Archives Media Coverage

Food website Epicurious has announced that it will stop posting new recipes containing beef to avoid "giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders." As the Washington Post noted, "Reaction was swift and illustrated the meaning of the metaphor about tossing red meat to a crowd. Some praised the decision, noting that tastes have changed and that readers are looking for more plant-based, less meaty dishes. Others slammed Epicurious for 'canceling' beef." The North American Meat Institute commented, suggesting that the reduction in beef recipes will correspond with a reduction in web traffic, according to the New York Times. Others reportedly questioned the effectiveness of the move in achieving its stated goal, with the founder of Food Tank telling the Post that the move is "short-sighted" because options exist for sustainable beef production. "While beef consumption in the U.S. is significantly down from where it was 30 years ago, it…

The legislatures of multiple Mexican states have voted to prohibit the sale of highly processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages to anyone under the age of 18, according to the Washington Post. A nationwide labeling law that takes effect in October 2020 will also require black stop signs on foods high in added sugar, saturated fats, calories and added sodium, and those foods will not be permitted to be sold or promoted in schools. One legislator reportedly noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has made more Mexicans aware of the effects that being overweight or obese can have on a person's susceptibility to other diseases and conditions, echoing a similar sentiment expressed by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he announced new limits on the sale and marketing of similar foods.

The Kansas City Star has detailed the story of Randy Constant, a Chillicothe, Missouri, man who fraudulently sold millions of dollars' worth of "organic" grains—as much as 7% of all the corn and 8% of all the soybeans sold nationally as organic in 2016. Federal investigators began looking into Constant when a competitor tipped off the government that it was impossible for him to have such high outputs legitimately. An FBI investigation revealed that he sold $140 million worth of "organic" grain from 2010-2017 that, if labeled correctly, would have likely been worth half of that total. The Star asserts that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had received a complaint in 2007 about Constant's soybeans, which tests showed were genetically modified in violation of organic regulations, but the agency failed to take any action. Attorneys for Constant argued that his fraud was a victimless crime, but the court disagreed, sentencing…

The French government has reportedly abandoned a campaign suggesting French people abstain from drinking alcohol during the month of January following pressure from wine producers. The plan was apparently inspired by a promotion launched by a U.K. advocacy group in 2013 that encourages alcohol abstinence during January and mindful alcohol consumption in the months that follow. The French health minister reportedly confirmed that discussion for a Dry January campaign would not be held until a ministerial health prevention committee meeting in February 2020.

According to the New York Times, Australia and New Zealand are disputing over the rights to produce manuka honey, a honey product that sells for about $100 per 500 grams. New Zealand producers seek to establish a protected designation of origin for manuka honey, but Australian producers argue that their production process creates the same resulting product. The New Zealand version of the product is created by bees that pollinate the manuka bush, while the bees in Australia create the honey with the nectar of the manuka bush as well as dozens of species in the same genus. One New Zealand producer reportedly said that calling the Australian product manuka honey is like "generalizing all the almonds and apricots and calling them plums"; the Australians argue that the related bushes are "nearly indistinguishable" because the species developed when Australia and New Zealand were part of the same land mass 65…

The New York Times has published a piece on the city's proposed ban on force-fed foie gras. The authors speak to several stakeholders—including chefs, city council members and veterinarians—and tour the upstate New York production facilities of two of the country's three foie gras farms. The authors note that foie gras, "a luxury item," is "an easy target" for "anti-snobs." "It's enjoyed by foodies and gourmets: people most of this country resents," the author of The Foie Gras Wars reportedly told the paper. The authors note that the employees of the production facilities—where "[n]o ducks appeared unable to walk," they report, contradicting rumors about the production process—were worried about losing their jobs. "That’s 400 people, sure, but really, that’s 400 families," the head chef at one facility reportedly said, referencing the number of employees who work at both upstate New York facilities.

NPR has published a writer's comparison of his experiences eating at restaurants in the United States and the United Kingdom while living with a peanut allergy. "Restaurants in the United Kingdom are generally far more vigilant, in this regard, than restaurants in the United States," the author observes. He recounts his experience being turned away from a U.K. restaurant after answering the server's question about food allergies by receiving a card explaining that the restaurant does "not operate in a surgical environment" and therefore could not guarantee that any of its menu items did not contain peanuts. "In America, the onus typically falls more on diners themselves," the author notes. "It's not routine, as it is in England, for servers to ask their customers proactively." The writer credits coverage of a U.K. teenager's death after eating a sandwich from Pret A Manger that was not labeled as containing sesame for…

The New Yorker has described a visit to the warehouse of Fulton Fish Market, a web start-up that aims to provide fresh fish across the United States using "an Amazon-esque warehousing-and-logistics system." In "The Last Robot-Proof Job in America?" the author states, "There is one thing, however, that the sophisticated logistics system cannot do: pick out a fish." Robert DiGregorio, the expert who selects fish for the company, The New Yorker explains, "possesses a blend of discernment and arcane fish knowledge that, so far, computers have yet to replicate." "What can a fishmonger see that a computer can't?" The New Yorker points to "a nice 'film'—as in slime," which purportedly protects the fish from bacteria and parasites, along with the smell—"when [skate] goes bad, it smells like ammonia," DiGregorio told the magazine. Further, he said that he builds relationships with the fishmongers to "get the best stuff—not the stuff they…

Bloomberg has published an article on companies looking to create dairy products from laboratory-grown whey that could compete with the livestock-derived whey that sold an estimated $10 billion in 2018. One featured start-up, Perfect Day, reportedly asserted that "its proteins require 98% less water and 65% less energy than that required to produce whey from cows" but the company must overcome "consumer squeamishness and regulatory reviews that may end up focusing more on the genetically modified organisms [GMO] used to make lab-grown whey." Perfect Day "wants to rebrand microbes used in food—yeast, fungi, bacteria—as flora, a more consumer-friendly term," Bloomberg reports, to attract vegans who may avoid something labeled "milk protein" and other consumers who may skip products described as "lab-grown" on the label. "We are trying to explore how we can get a term for this industry that's outside of plant-based," one of the founders reportedly told Bloomberg. "Something…

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) will allow distillers to use a variety of casks—including those previously used to age tequila and fruit spirits—to age Scotch whisky during its required three-year maturation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Regulations previously limited acceptable casks to those previously used to hold sherry, cognac, bourbon or port. Some distillers told the news outlet that the change would allow companies to create "new flavor experiences" for Scotch whisky drinkers, while others expressed apprehension. "Scotch needs to be judged by its color, taste and traditionality," a former chief executive of the SWA told WSJ. "Clearly if you then had a whisky that tasted of tequila—if it used an ex-tequila cask—it would not be a Scotch whisky."

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