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.
Bubble over. A Chicago-area woman has sued the makers of LaCroix—the super-popular, super-fizzy, and super-sassy seltzer—for false advertising. According to court filings, the woman would not have been drinking the “all-natural” beverage since 2016 if she’d known it was made with three synthetic compounds, including one found in insecticides—but also, as Snopes points out, in cosmetics: “Depending on the day’s mood, then, linalool is either a synthetic and dangerous insecticide component which an evil corporation has surreptitiously added to its beverages, OR it is a naturally occurring component of essential oils which will soothe both your skin and your mind.” What’s the big deal? The fact that the FDA has a good, working definition of “synthetic,” but not “natural”—which means it’s probably legal for beverage companies to have it both ways.
Mass surveillance state. An aquaculture giant wants to harness the power of facial recognition technology to detect and quarantine unhealthy fish, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The market for farmed fish has skyrocketed in the last 50 years, putting pressure on the industry to grow. Diseases like sea lice—which is as nasty as it sounds—hamper that growth. That’s why Cermaq, one of the world’s biggest farmed fish producers, wants to outfit its fisheries with scanners from a Norwegian bio-tech company called BioSort. The scanners keep track of fish based on unique patterns of spots on their scaly faces, and when ulcers or lice are detected, individual fish can be singled out for treatment. But are fish okay with the privacy violation?
You take the good, you take the bad. There’s been more than plenty of discussion about who’s winning and losing in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. China’s 400 million fat pigs, for instance, are going reverse-paleo. Are they losing? Perhaps. And late last week, we learned about the latest link in our food supply chain to be affected by the tariffs—food banks. If their story were a fusion cuisine, we’d call it win-lose: As The Wall Street Journal reports, food banks are going to reap an unexpected $1.2-billion harvest of food that the government agreed to buy from farmers who’ve been hurt by the tariff battle. But, according to The Washington Post, they’re also worried about the impending scramble to process and distribute nearly three times the amount of food they typically do. In Clichéland, that’s called “a good problem to have.”
Ghost story. Here at TNFE, we have ways of seeing when other food publications post new work. It helps us make sure we’re on top of things. And because we’re a newsroom full of sentimental hearts, we never took the universally-beloved-but-long-
Imagine our surprise when we started seeing new posts from LKY.PH, the magazine’s old shortened URL, on our feeds. Yet something’s a little off this time—the posts advertise breast enlargement cream, male enhancement pills, and toe fungus ointment. The Lucky Peach we knew and loved would’ve happily written about all this stuff, but it would’ve been accompanied by incredible illustrations and plucky prose, not stories that start with the phrase “Develop in skin folds such as the groin or between the toes.”
The old Lucky Peach website is password protected, and we can’t see the archives. We don’t know exactly how shortened domain names work, but it seems like another entity has found a way to publish using the shortened LKY.PH address. When we tried to navigate backward from the feed to the enhancement website (with apologies to anyone who can see through our office windows), we got a time-out error.
We’re looking for answers. In the meantime, we’re happy to see Lucky Peach live on in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps this is part of an elaborate plot to announce a Banksy x David Chang collaboration. We’d welcome that with open arms.