Thinly sliced: Is cell-cultured meat actually better for the environment? Not necessarily, scientists found
This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.
This is the future liberals want. Here’s a thought experiment: What if we stopped raising cattle and produced all our beef instead by culturing cow cells? English climate scientists calculated the environmental effects of that shift, and found that, theoretically, our planet would be much worse off if we replaced methane—the stuff of cow burps—with the carbon dioxide emitted when producing at scale. That’s assuming, of course, that we’d still be using fossil fuels. Wired gets into the study’s nitty-gritty.
Stick-y situation. Over the weekend, fish sticks got served with a side of geopolitical intrigue. A strange quirk of the commercial fishing industry is that fish caught in foreign waters—pollock caught in Russia, for instance—is often sent to China for processing before it hits the U.S. market. During the ongoing U.S.-China trade skirmish, that’s given Russian pollock a tariff-free advantage to the detriment of Alaskan pollock producers, who are subject to a tariff. When CNN reported that the lower price of Russian pollock is the reason it’s in half the fish sticks served in America’s school cafeterias, Russian media unleashed its trolls on Twitter to poise it as an attack on Russian fish and on President Trump by CNN. Seafood News reminds us (paywall) that the issue isn’t Russian-caught fish (or CNN). The issue is Russian-caught-China-
You can’t handle the truth. President Trump claims that “nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps” because of his administration. And you know what? He’s not far off. Since he’s taken office, 3.6 million people have indeed stopped receiving SNAP benefits. But The Washington Post’s fact-checker points out that participation has been declining since the Obama administration.
What means “emergency?” While we’ve got emergencies on the brain, here’s another one. President Trump’s EPA in 2018 issued an emergency approval to permit spraying of a pesticide called sulfoxaflor, which is allowed only for limited use because of its potentially toxic effect on bees. But as Snopes reports, President Obama’s EPA had invoked similar emergency exemptions for sulfoxaflor three times, plus once during the transition between his and Trump’s administrations. Pollinator advocates are abuzz about the potential harm, but so are farmers experiencing bug infestations.