Thinly sliced: Arkansas demands “rice” labeling standard, Impossible Burger comes to White Castle, 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.

Still beefin’. Ever heard of a checkoff? It’s basically a mandatory tax on commodity producers to fund research and marketing. (It’s where the phrase “Got milk?” comes from.) A new court decision, however, could change the way they work. FERN reports the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier ruling that the beef checkoff program run by the Montana Beef Council violates the First Amendment rights of some of the state’s farmers. We wrote all about the case when it came up last year, if you’re curious.

Be rice. If you’ve been reading us for a while you’ve probably indulged in at least one of our many stories on protecting food identity. Yes, it turns out that what makes milk “milk” and meat “meat” is as important to the food and beverage industry (and its lobbyists, and its regulators) as what makes you you and us us. By 2016, the surge in almond-soy-oat-flax-hemp-cashew beverages had rattled the dairy industry enough that it asked FDA to limit use of traditional dairy terminology—like “milk”—when applied to plant-based products. Ditto the beef industry vis-a-vis USDA over cell-cultured meat earlier this year. Now, the rice industry wants its name back from cauliflower and broccoli that has been processed and packaged as already finely chopped, and increasingly marketed as “vegetable rice” for the starch-averse among us. The National Law Review reports that Arkansas has passed a resolution to set a standard of identity for rice that it hopes will go federal.

Better beef? It’s been months since we last reported on the Impossible Burger’s slow roll into restaurants across the country. In the last 24 hours, it made a giant leap forward: You can now eat the bleeding vegan beef at 140 White Castle locations, Quartz reports.

An update from #FlintWaterCrisis. Last week, says Reuters, the state of Michigan announced it will stop supplying free bottled water to residents in Flint. Officials claim two years of tests have shown that Flint’s water is similar in quality to—or better than—water in other cities across the state. Local residents, who say they’re not convinced, can be forgiven for thinking the assurances seem suspicious: They came from the same administration that knowingly sourced from a polluted river to save the state some money.

The muscle-hustle. Thought veganism was the new queen of wellness? Well, if you’re looking for something more old-school (or paleolithic), Munchies reports that Crossfit has launched a meal-delivery kit apparently containing only raw meat. Because who has time to lift and brocery shop in the same week?

No Shade. We don’t say this very often, but there comes a time when the farm needs a little update. Calor, a new app created by California high-school senior Faith Florez, notifies farm workers when they are subject to dangerously hot working conditions. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner? It sounds like a breezy idea.

The Counter Stories by our editors.