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.
Bud, not buddy. Legal cannabis farms springing up around California are facing some unexpected tensions with their neighbors in wine country, NPR reports. The problem has to do with pesticide drift. State law dictates that cannabis must be free from any traces of pesticides. This means that vineyards adjacent to where the grass is grown have to either dial down their use, or switch to less effective pesticides altogether. Farmers fear the impact on their bottom line.
Justice for cookies. A small group of home cooks is suing the state of New Jersey, where it’s still illegal to sell their food for profit. That restriction has made unwitting criminals of hundreds of bakers and cooks who sell their homemade comestibles to friends and neighbors. Over the last decade, a wave of states have passed so-called cottage food laws that permit the sale of breads and granolas, for instance, but require income caps and glowing results from kitchen safety inspections. (We covered California’s leap into the fray last year). The Garden State is the only holdout, The New York Times reports.
Guilt-free boozing. This will take some getting used to. Corona is unveiling specially-designed, interlocking beer cans that Food and Wine describes as fitting together “like some sort of a beer Lego system.” The idea is to cut back on packaging, and particularly, those plastic six-pack rings that end up in the ocean and wreak havoc on living creatures. It’s a pretty cool idea, and honestly, we’re not mad at it. But we will make a weird face when someone shows up at a party holding a four-foot tall pole of beer cans.
Bone dry. In New Mexico, farms, cities, and businesses are maxing out the state’s water supply—so much so that it’s as empty as a desert nation’s. Business Insider reports on a study that found there’s only around 5 percent of the annual water supply left for everything else—like drinking water. These conditions could lead to more “day zeroes,” which is what happened when all the taps ran dry in Chennai, India, earlier this year. California, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska also have high levels of “water stress,” the study found.
Rising tides. You thought we were getting better about mercury. You were wrong. A new study in Nature finds that, even though human-driven mercury emissions are declining, the overall level in seafood continues to rise. That’s because warming waters, induced by climate change, are forcing some fish to find prey richer in the toxic element. Overall, rising water temperatures have led to a 56-percent increase in Atlantic bluefin tuna’s mercury levels over the last 50 years, according to Seafood Source. The trade outlet reports the fish is still safe to eat.