Thinly sliced: Brazil abandons gene-edited cattle after FDA finds contamination with unwanted DNA

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.

Buggy beef. Hearken back a couple of weeks to when we dropped a story about antibiotic-resistant DNA popping in gene-edited cattle. Fast forward: This week, Wired updates us on where they were supposed to end up. Minnesota company Recombinetics had been all set to release its hornless holsteins in Brazil. Now, the discovery of the unwanted DNA has prompted the Brazilian government to reconsider its agreement with the company. Reason being? In the eyes of Brazilian regulators, the gene-edited cattle “could no longer be viewed as not GMO.”

The 5 percent. The term “plant-based” has been bandied about (and invested in) with such gusto, you might assume the entire globe has gone veg. Not so, says The Washington Post. According to a Gallup poll, just about 5 percent of Americans self-identify as vegetarian or vegan. And that number hasn’t changed in 20 years, even as food culture and eating habits have.

Nothin’ wrong with the tap. What’s the big issue with bottled water? Soda and juice come in bottles, and no one’s mad at them (at least for the packaging). In this week’s installment of Grist’s advice column, Ask Umbra, columnist Eve Andrews argues that bottled water is uniquely extractive. Companies like Nestle purchase the water rights of small communities and resell the product at a gigantic markup, all while polluting the environment. See you at the water fountain.

Lobsters get the pinch. Did you know lobster is wildly popular in China, and that the U.S. was its main supplier until very recently? If you’ve heard anything about our escalating trade war, you won’t be shocked to learn this supplier relationship is, well, tanking. The Associated Press reports lobster exports have plummeted 80 percent in the last few months, leading to layoffs and other pain points for Maine’s lobster industry. Meanwhile, the exports have moved north to Canada, where the national leader hasn’t ignited a potentially calamitous trade tiff.

Who put the queen in Dairy Queen? Here’s a wild one: After federal agents raided a Dairy Queen in South Carolina last week, rumors began circulating that the fast-food chain had been bulking up its hamburgers with—you guessed it—human flesh, The Index-Journal reports. The company took to Twitter to deny these claims. State health inspectors agreed. But hey, the original sci-fi classic Soylent Green was set in 2022. There’s still time for Dairy Queen to differentiate itself in the alt-meat sector.

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