Thinly sliced: Trump administration pays JBS over $62 million as part of farmer bailout program

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.

It’s still Whole Paycheck. America’s most expensive grocery store remains Whole Foods, according to Bank of America analysts, while the cheapest is Walmart. Last month, the Amazon-owned grocer announced its first major price cuts in years, but as it turned out, those weren’t so big for packaged foods. Another big takeaway? The prices for organic and conventional produce are converging, CNBC reports.

Breakfast on blast. Why is American breakfast food so limited in scope—hot and cold cereal, yogurt, bacon, eggs, toast, and juice? It’s all marketing, explains Amanda Mull at The Atlantic. In other parts of the world, breakfast has traditionally included the same kinds of food options you could enjoy at any other meal. So if you feel like you’re being cheated out of morning pasta and cheeseburgers, blame the insidious efforts of Big Breakfast.

Pig went to market. Since porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, known as PRRS, first appeared in the United States, it has cost the pork industry around $10 billion. The virus, which causes pneumonia in newborn piglets, is incredibly contagious, and there’s no cure. Other than genetically modifying animals to resist it, that is. Genus, a British genetics firm that’s been working to do just that, has announced its intention to bring PRRS-resistant pigs to China in the next couple years, Reuters reports. That’s likely to irk American pork farmers, who’ve been waiting for those pigs be to legalized here.

Pity the diplomat. Washington, D.C., is home to many a transplant: Politicians and think tankers and lobbyists and legions of staffers shipped in from all around the country. There’s also a contingent of diplomats from far-off lands, shored up indefinitely in our capital city. The Washington Post caught up with a bunch of these ambassadors, to find out which foods they eat when they’re homesick. The answers ranged from liver and onions to Taco Bell “Fire” salsa.

There are no borders. Remember when Smithfield, a Chinese-owned pork company, qualified for beaucoup bucks in farmer bailouts? From a trade war with China? That’s because it has hundreds of hog operations here. (It decided not to collect the payments amid public backlash.) You know who else is an American farmer, by USDA standards? JBS, the São Paulo-based meatpacker. In January, the agency bought over $22 million worth of pork from its American plants, followed by two other subsequent bailouts, now totaling more than $62 million. The New York Daily News points out that, again, trade bailout money is subsidizing foreign companies, and this time, it’s going to Brazilian “crooks.”

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