Thinly sliced: Celebrity chefs aren’t enough to draw a crowd anymore, you can probably find Ludacris in a grocery store, 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.
A spoonful of sugar. An advertising watchdog in the United Kingdom has found that ads for Kellogg’s Coco Pops granola option breaks kids marketing rules, Food Navigator reports. Even though the cereal meets certain standards around fat, sugar, and salt—and therefore qualifies to be promoted during breaks in a Mr. Bean cartoon—the Advertising Standards Authority says the branding, featuring a spunky, chocolate-loving monkey, is nevertheless associated with the more popular, sugarier, flagship cereal. In the United States, Kellogg’s, along with other cereal companies, commits not to target children with cereals high in calories, saturated fats, sodium and sugars, as part of a voluntary pledge to the Better Business Bureau.
Tariff tangle. The 10-percent tariffs newly proposed by the Trump administration on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports would end up hurting the United States seafood industry if implemented, according to The Wall Street Journal. Thanks to the intricacies of global trade, an increasing amount of U.S.-caught seafood is sent to China for processing, before being shipped back across the world to American retailers. American fisheries have outsourced more and more of the work because Chinese processing plants do it more cheaply—sometimes, as we’ve explained, with the help of forced labor from North Korea. The Journal reports that 50 percent of Alaskan seafood goes to China first, part of $900 million worth of fish and seafood caught domestically and shipped to China each year. If additional duties are in fact added in September, we could see a 10-percent price hike in the seafood aisle—enough to drive some U.S. wholesalers out of business. Who knew trade wars could be so complicated?
Celebrity meh-f. Toto, we’re not in 2010 anymore. And that apparently means names like Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Oliver, and Gordon Ramsay are no longer enough to lure diners into a high-end restaurant. As Bloomberg Businessweek reports, we’re just kinda over the whole I-saw-them-on-Iron Chef novelty of yore, and desire instead the “authenticity” of dining experiences that don’t promise a fancy, familiar name on the door. Our collective ambivalence hasn’t been good for the Kellers and Flays and Fieris of the world (though, let’s be honest, Guy did himself in)—each of them have closed a flashy signature restaurant in recent years. Meanwhile, our own Joe Fassler is looking at the grand decline in his rearview mirror: You can read his 2016 series on the death of high-roller restaurants here.
Imm-egg-ration woes. Rose Acre Farms, one of the country’s biggest egg producers, will pay a $70,000 fine as part of its settlement of a discrimination claim made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) back in 2012. Here’s what DOJ says happened: There are a variety of combinations of documents that prospective workers can use to verify their identity and eligibility for employment. Rose Acre Farms allegedly limited the ways that non-U.S. citizen applicants could prove work authorization, which amounts to a form of discrimination based on citizenship or national origin. As a result, the producer is getting a financial slap on its wrist and will be subjected to DOJ monitoring for two years going forward. Sidebar: This isn’t the only distasteful news to come out of Rose Acre this year. In April, it recalled nearly 200 million eggs suspected of being contaminated with salmonella. As we reported, FDA inspectors found live and dead rodents, as well as piles of manure in Rose Acre’s hen houses even before the outbreak. Sounds like it needs a lot more than just DOJ monitoring.
Robin Leach will get jealous. If three makes a trend, then what’s 100? The rapper Ludacris has been spotted in grocery stores, in different area codes, “about once a month, going back years and years,” a New York Times Styles writer discovers. On occasion—most recently, last week, in an Atlanta-area Whole Foods—he even foots the bill for random shoppers. “Luda does these things all the time,” his manager says, of the previously under-the-radar beneficence. “But he doesn’t want to do interviews to highlight it.” Would he object to punchy newsletter blurbs, though?