Thinly sliced: African Swine Fever losses trigger shortage of common blood thinner medication

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.

Harriet the ribeye. Like every other global food company (lookin’ at you, Tyson, Smithfield, Nestle…), Kellogg Company announced on Wednesday that it, too, is jumping into the fake meat fray. So far, we have no reason to believe there’s anything particularly notable about the company’s debut ready-to-cook, plant-based burger. And it won’t hit shelves under the Morningstar Farms brand until early next year. But its name, which we have to believe is the brainchild of some executive’s giggling third-grader, is pretty juicy: The Incogmeato. You love to see it.

Against the grain. Move over, kernza. It’s curtains for millet. Enter teff? The Los Angeles Times reports on a nascent effort to make the annual grass, which is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea, happen here in America. Best known to you, probably, as injera’s main ingredient, some scientists think it’s well-suited to a warming planet because it doesn’t need much water to grow. Some even say it could be the new wheat. Realistically? It’s quinoa, redux—a high-nutrient super-food that’s got a good niche.

Flavor of justice? As racial tensions flare in 2019 America, the question on everyone’s minds is obviously, what are ice cream makers doing to fix it? For the most part, the answer is “nothing much.” Thankfully, Ben and Jerry’s has never seen an issue too thorny to incorporate into a marketing strategy. The company has partnered with two racial justice nonprofits to build a new flavor called Justice Remix’d, using cinnamon buns and brownies as agents of change. Some profits will go toward racial justice initiatives, and the company will also be sending out its Scoop Trucks to “spark conversations” and “activate community members.” (Worked well for Starbucks.) Dairy Reporter has the … scoop.

Ripple effects. One country’s trash is another country’s life-saving medicine. That’s becoming obvious as China’s African Swine Fever outbreak triggers a shortage of a common blood thinner in the U.S. Bloomberg reports that heparin, which is derived from pork intestines, may soon be in short supply: A subsidiary of a German manufacturer has started limiting its distribution. Intestines from pigs that have died from African Swine Fever or been culled as a result of nearby outbreaks cannot be used to manufacture the medicine. The Food and Drug Administration assured Bloomberg that “the overall supply continues to meet demand.”

You say tomato. There’s a reason why American ketchup tastes the way it does, and that reason is a man named Hector Osorno. He’s the official “Ketchup Master” at Kraft Heinz, the food giant that sells 70 percent of the country’s popular tomato condiment. Not only does Osorno monitor the quality of the tomato paste that goes into the ubiquitous ketchup, but he is also, reportedly, the keeper of ketchup secrets. NPR has the story.

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