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.
Watch those wings. One person has died and 17 have been sickened by an outbreak of salmonella linked to the country’s largest kosher chicken producer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. A number of people interviewed during the agency’s investigation remembered eating kosher chicken, and several mentioned having eaten the Empire Kosher brand. While no recall has been issued, Consumer Reports advises eaters who may have the brand in their freezer to err on the side of caution and toss it, because the specific strain of salmonella in this case is particularly dangerous. (Reminder: Kosher slaughter laws dictate how an animal can be butchered, but they don’t ensure that kosher meat is safer, healthier, or more humane than its non-kosher counterparts.) In the meantime, maybe try chicken-less chicken?
The workers united. Arturo Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers (UFW), will step down from his role as head of America’s largest farmworker union after 25 years on the job, Geoffrey Mohan writes for The Los Angeles Times. Teresa Romero, who currently serves as the union’s secretary-treasurer, will replace him, making her the first woman and first immigrant to take on that role (she was born in Mexico City and grew up in Guadalajara). Romero told Mohan that she would make immigration reform a top priority for the organization. Makes sense: Of the estimated 3 million agricultural workers in the United States, roughly 50 percent are unauthorized.
The New Food (Hall) Economy? Food media has found a new revenue stream in the booming business of food halls. Four years ago, Time Out Group, a British media outlet focused on food and entertainment listings, struck gold when it established the first branded food hall in Lisbon, Portugal. Since then, countless other digital media companies, including Buzzfeed’s food vertical Tasty, Vice’s Munchies, and Refinery29 have expanded into the business of branded fast-casual dining to help fund their publishing enterprises. Whether foot traffic can be converted into website traffic remains TBD. Commercial Observer has the story.
Speaking of munchies. Food journalist Gustavo Arellano is lobbying the California government to declare “Cal-Mex” the official state cuisine. Cal-Mex refers to the hybridized American-Mexican food that has flourished in the state, often originating there before catching on nationwide. Think Mission-style burritos from San Francisco, Korean tacos from Orange County, or really anything from Taco Bell. According to Arellano, enshrining Cal-Mex to its rightful throne will not only be inviting to food tourists from across the country, but it will inspire more culinary curiosity within the state, too. Read Arellano’s convincing case in The Los Angeles Times.