Thinly sliced: The intriguing story of how corn syrup overtook the soft drink market

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.

Wine into water. Ever finished a glass of wine and chased it with water, neglecting to rinse your glass between drinks? That’s basically the concept behind wine water, a new non-alcoholic product seasoned with discarded grape skins, the Washington Post reports. We can hear our dads now: “Don’t know why you’d pay money for that when you can make it at home for free.”

You can’t sit with us. It’s no secret that employers Google job applicants, but have you ever heard of restaurants Googling potential patrons? Posh Manhattan restaurant Fleming by Le Bilboquet requires hosts and hostesses to track emailed reservation requests, ensuring that guests are rich and famous enough. The New York Post reports that one waiter called it a way to “keep the restaurant for “special” people only.” (By special, they mean rich.)

Corn in the USA. Today, high fructose corn syrup is the dominant sweetener used in soft drinks, but when exactly did the ingredient knock cane sugar off its high horse—and how? For Mother Jones, Tom Philpott outlines a series of events that led to corn syrup’s rise, largely masterminded by political donor and ADM executive Dwayne Andreas. The fascinating saga includes a corn boom, lots of political lobbying, and a lesson in making friends out of the enemies of your enemies.

Taste test. Shoppers use Amazon reviews to decide which products to “add to cart.” One day, public health officials—aided by artificial intelligence—may use them to detect unsafe food products. A team of researchers at Boston University recently trained a neural network to spot potentially contaminated items using keywords pulled from FDA recalls, Gizmodo reports. Not only was the AI system able to detect recalled products with 74 percent accuracy, but it also found warning signs in reviews for 20,000 foods that hadn’t been recalled.

Pardon me, Perdue? Farmers are pissed about the Trump administration’s ongoing trade war, and they told Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as much in Minnesota on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports. It’s another piece of evidence that the president may finally be losing farmers’ support as his trade war drags on. Earlier this week, Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall signaled he’s losing patience as well, calling the latest round of tariffs and China’s subsequent ban on American agricultural imports a “body blow.”

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