Thinly sliced: KFC tests vegetarian fried “chicken,” edible six-pack rings debut in stores, and more

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.

Recyclable… right? News alert: When it comes to recycling, not all plastics and paper are created equal. That greasy cardboard pizza box that’s totally made of paper? That yogurt cup that’s definitely plastic? That ambiguous coffee cup that might be paper but also a plastic? The New York Times finally informs us that no, these common goods aren’t recyclable—and attempting to recycle them might undermine your virtuous attempt to be eco-friendly. It might even make you … an aspirational recycler.

Deep-sixed. A New York ad agency has partnered with a Mexican packing company to create the world’s first edible six-pack rings, reports. The product, made from wheat by-products left over from the brewing process, is said to be compostable and safe for sea creatures to nibble on—or will biodegrade on its own in between three to six months. SaltWater Brewery, a south Florida craft brewer, is piloting the packaging on its products sold at Whole Foods, Kroger, and other retailers nationwide.

Inspector’s gadgets. Among the many fascinating details in today’s New York Times profile of restaurant inspector Fayick Suleman: He schleps a 40-pound bag that carries his tablet, a printer, and temperature probes to randomly selected restaurants across New York City five days a week. Also, one time a restaurateur had a panic attack when the inspector arrived and had to be taken to the hospital. Oh, and restaurant owners think health inspections are too subjective! (Actually, they might be–we reported on that a couple weeks back.) It’s not often we catch ourselves giggling in a story about the people who give chefs nightmares on a daily basis, but this one by Priya Krishna is a true delight.

Chicken little. Across the Atlantic, KFC’s UK kitchens are testing a vegetarian fried “chicken,” with a goal of launching a plant-based poultry alternative by 2019, Food Beast reports. This comes on the heels of White Castle’s recent roll out of an Impossible Burger, a veggie patty that “bleeds” and tastes like meat. At this rate, can we bet on tempeh at Taco Bell soon? Or maybe seitan at Sonic? Only time—and market research that says yes—will tell.

Open for business. Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Trump, tried to leverage his position to help his wife secure a Chick-fil-A franchise, The Washington Post reports, in the latest of a series of reports on the former Oklahoma Attorney General’s alleged wrongdoings while in office. Apparently, the fried chicken sandwich franchise receives 40,000 franchising applications per year, only 100 of which are approved. That’s lower than many Ivy League college acceptance rates. Maybe Pruitt thought of his meddling more akin to a letter of recommendation, as opposed to the actual corruption it resembles

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