The latest: September 6, 2017

Earthworms are killing sugar maples, invasive species and scientific bias, and an unruly egg roll recall

Even invasive species suffer from scientific bias

A new study shows scientists’ expectations can have an effect on experimental outcome. The good news: this bias is on the decline.

By Claire Brown | Read more

7 labor disputes to remember after the holiday

Three wins for workers in the food industry, plus four cases to watch. Read more.

By the way, we’re hiring! If you think you’d make a great News Producer or General Assignment Reporter, check out our job descriptions here. Or know someone great? Send them our way by forwarding this email. Please apply by September 30.

Worms, woods, problems. In recent years, earthworms have taken something of a star turn. While not as lauded as the beleaguered honeybee, these little wrigglers are largely viewed as a crucial building block to sustainable agriculture. Their connections to soil health are well-acknowledged among gardeners and farmers (especially those with biodynamic leanings), they are undeniable compost heroes, and they’ve even been spotted helping drought-plagued California wineries. But if you consider yourself a superfan, we’ve got some bad news: Worms are causing trouble in the forest. Read more.
—Jesse Hirsch


A flood of relief. As post-Hurricane Harvey efforts shift from rescue and damage assessment to recovery and relief, big food companies are doing what big food companies do: feed people. And their emergency provisions and disaster relief programs appear to be as varied as victims of the flooding surely are. Read more.
—Kate Cox

Just the one-liners

Starbucks livestreamed a pumpkin for 90 straight hours to announce the release of its Pumpkin Spice Latte. Not much happened, and viewers were alternately bored and pissed, Grubstreet reports.

Perfection Instagram has reached its peak, Quartz reports. Flawless, well-lit avocado toast just isn’t performing like it used to. Can’t say we’re super sad about that.

Smile for the camera: A KFC in China is testing payment via facial recognition, The Verge reports. Customers enter their phone numbers, look at the camera and—magic!—their bank accounts are charged.

Mislabeled egg rolls could’ve killed someone. Why did it take a week to get them off the shelf?

It was a high-priority recall involving an undeclared allergen. But FOIA documents reveal USDA and FDA spent days squabbling over which agency should handle it.

By Baylen J. Linnekin | Read more

The Counter Stories by our editors.