The latest: August 9, 2017

Minds drift, relationships drift, pesticides drift.

For Christ’s sake, skip “What the Health.” Watch this sci-fi film about giant pigs instead

Why Okja’s fictional Monsanto—sorry, “Mirando”—dystopia tells us more about the food industry than anything else we’ve seen this year.

By Patrick Clinton | Read more

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Driftin’ along. On the morning of August 2, 2017, farmworkers harvesting garlic outside Bakersfield, California started to display alarming symptoms during a 4 a.m. shift. Some noticed a strong soapy taste in their mouths. Others experienced headaches and nausea. Most had irritated eyes and skin.

The suspected cause, as you might guess, was pesticides—but not what the farm’s owners had sprayed. They came from a few fields over. Read more.
—Joe Fassler

mediterranean diet for rich peopleUnsplash

When health is wealth. The Mediterranean diet is often touted as a heart-healthy ace-in-the-hole. But, according to a new study by Italian researchers that followed almost 19,000 people over four years, its benefits may be confined to the wealthy and well-educated. Read more.
—Claire Brown

SNAP participation ratesFood Research & Action Center

Do we really have to keep doing these food stamp fact checks? If you want to understand why SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”) participation is declining, Newsweek published an explainer last month that gets right to the point: The economy improved, states dropped recession waivers, and 500,000 to 1 million people lost their benefits. End.

But that doesn’t stop alt-right publications like Breitbart from using the same data as evidence for the success of President Trump’s … what do we call them, policies?

The problem with participation data is and has been that they don’t give us much insight about users beyond their race, what state they live in, whether they have children, whether they are children (age 18 or younger), and what their average benefit is. But a new tool from the Food Research & Action Center might change that. Read more.
—Kate Cox

Just the one-liners

Avocados are too expensive, even for people who live in Mexico. The country is (kind of) considering importing avocados as increased international demand and a bad domestic harvest drive prices sky high, The Guardian reports.

August off to an acquisitive start: Sapporo bought Anchor Steam, Grubhub bought Yelp’s Eat24, and low-calorie ice cream darling Halo Top is reportedly looking for a buyer if you’ve got $2 billion lying around. (Anyone else think that stuff is overrated?)

Would-be Disney princess sues Costco over dreams deferred.

Leaked government emails tell USDA reps not to say “climate change. Leaked government reports say climate change is caused by humans. Huh!

Canadians have already eaten five tons of fast-growing GMO salmon AquaBounty, the Washington Post reports. The salmon are not yet available in the U.S. since the company is still swimming upstream against regulatory hurdles. (Fun fact: The GMO-modified salmon take a year and a half to grow big enough to eat. Regular salmon take three years. Broiler chickens take 48 days.)

An oyster vending machine has arrived in France, but you still have to shuck ‘em yourself.

That NYT article about FDA and Impossible Foods seems to be getting a lot of buzz. Whether you think the company’s plant blood problems are a safety concern or a total non-story, it doesn’t change the fact that Impossible raised a fresh $75 million a couple weeks back and is cruisin’ toward a Kroger near you.

Will the food system survive another Hurricane Sandy?

Traditional disaster preparedness planning has not included the food system. The City of Baltimore and a group of researchers from Johns Hopkins want to change that.

By Kate Cox | Read more

The Counter Stories by our editors.