Thinly sliced: Meat traces found in “meat-free” meatballs, Blue Apron goes retail, and more

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Is that pork on your fork? Imagine tucking into some “meat-free” meatballs and “vegan” macaroni, only to discover—to the horror of any plant-based eater—that the meal contains traces of meat. Food Navigator shares the results of an investigation conducted by The Telegraph (paywall) that found traces of pork and turkey in supposedly vegetarian products. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has started its own investigations in response—perhaps to avoid any beef.

A new approach to the holy month. For Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, more Muslims are starting to incorporate healthier options into their diets, NPR’s The Salt reports. Eating only two meals a day—Suhoor before sunrise and Iftar after sunset—reminds Sarah Mir, a food blogger out of Toronto, to be mindful of her meal choices. And Shahzadi Devje, a Toronto-based dietician, emphasizes that Ramadan is about discipline and balance, and encourages people to not overindulge during Iftar. “To focus on your spirituality, you need to be feeling your best physically,” she told reporter Maryam Jillani. Ramadan ends on June 14 this year.

Half a pound of Blue Apron? Blue Apron meal kits are moving from your front door to Costco’s deli aisle, according to Eater. Despite dominating the online meal-kit market in 2017, only 15 percent of the company’s customers remained within a year of their first purchase. “We are focused on meeting customers on their terms,” says Nisha Devarajan, Blue Apron’s senior director of communications. Blue Apron now has meal kits in over 60 Costco locations.

#MeToo cooks up a storm. The culinary world is no exception to the global movement against sexual misconduct. In an interview with members of Philadelphia’s restaurant scene, The Inquirer writes about how restaurants have traditionally been breeding grounds where harassment can “flourish.” Now, however, women and workplaces are fighting back: with improved staff training sessions, reporting policies, and stronger leadership, sexual harassment may eventually approach—if not immediately land on—the chopping block.

How chains become “craveable.” Ever wonder how a chain restaurant is born? The truth is, menu creation isn’t as easy as it may seem to eaters. In this Munchies article, a former corporate restaurant consultant reveals how “carriers” (read: lettuce cups, bread, and the like), “proteins” (all meat products) and “textural value-adds” (we don’t know, either) come together in a long, multifaceted process that creates the fast-casual dining experience customers crave.

Bargain deal. In Las Vegas, a service workers’ union provides everything from health insurance with no monthly premium to a loan on a down payment on a house—all without forcing members to pay dues. But in Nevada, a right-to-work state, more than 95 percent of members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 pay dues anyway, Huffington Post reports. With members earning an average of $23 an hour in pay and benefits, including a generous health plan and an employer-funded pension, the union is considered a “ray of hope” for workers elsewhere.

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