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.
Trouble in Bayer-dise. The toxicity of Monsanto’s flagship product Roundup is still being litigated in court, but one thing is becoming abundantly clear: The Company-Formerly-Known-As is a toxic asset for its new parent company, Bayer. Reuters reports that Bayer’s largest shareholder, fund manager BlackRock, will not vote in an upcoming meeting. This appears to be a sign of low confidence after the company’s acquisition of Monsanto—and subsequent losses in court. Reuters also reports that Bayer acquired Monsanto for $63 billion in June of 2018 and has since lost $34 billion in market value.
Ain’t no cure for bacon. Following through on The Washington Post’s mission to shine a light on society’s shadowy secrets, Tamar Haspel turns the full force of her investigatory acumen on bacon this week. Haspel digs into an open secret (a Google search turns up plenty of literature on the matter), essentially disproving that bacon labeled “uncured” is free from pesky nitrates and nitrates. In fact, she writes, there’s evidence that some uncured bacon might be even worse for human health than its conventional cousins. Oh, and an unexpected villain in the piece? Celery.
When keepin’ it real goes wrong. Reclaimed wood is apparently having a moment. And thieves are trying to get in on it. Barnwood theft has exploded in Kentucky, which has more old barns per square mile than any other state. As America’s appetite for farmhouse chic heats up, wood buyers are on “high alert” for stolen boards, and even asking for written proof of legal ownership from potential sellers. “We’ve got barns that are standin’ that are nothing but the frame and roof left,” a sheriff tells The Louisville Courier Journal.
Stop & Strike. Stop & Shop workers have reached a tentative agreement with the grocery chain regarding benefits and pay in a new contract after nearly two weeks of strikes, The New York Times reports. Workers perceived that the chain—which operates 240 stores on the East Coast and raked in $2 billion in profits last year—wanted to cut health care benefits and pay to its 30,000-plus workers. Voting to ratify the agreed-upon contract begins this week.
Collateral damage. A bipartisan group of Senators and members of the House wants to increase the amount of debt that farmers can restructure under chapter 12, the section of the bankruptcy code which sets the terms for family farms and fishermen. The bill, called the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019, is led by Democratic Representative Antonio Delgado of New York. In a press release, Delgado’s office cited farm consolidation and economic woes from Trump’s trade war as factors leading to this legislation.