Thinly sliced: Seattle reaps $4 million in soda taxes in three months, price-fixing in the poultry aisle, and more
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.
Soda streams. As cities across the country continue to debate soda taxes’ influence on health and consumer behavior, we’re finally getting a clear indication of how much one such initiative impacts the bottom line: $4,082,015 in three months. That’s how much Seattle’s tax on sugar-sweetened beverages brought in during the first quarter, the Seattle Times reports. The city’s well ahead of its target. Officials originally estimated that the measure, which charges beverage distributors a 1.75-cent-per-fluid-ounce tax on sugary beverages, syrups, and concentrates, would bring in $14.8 million in 2018.
Romaines of the day. The ongoing E. coli outbreak traced back to romaine lettuce now has a larger geographic footprint than the historic 2006 fresh spinach outbreak, Food Safety News reports. The spinach outbreak killed three people and sickened 199 across 26 states. This year’s romaine outbreak has fewer confirmed illnesses—the CDC has announced one death and 149 cases—but it already spans 29 states.
Price-fixing in the poultry aisle. Are all the big poultry producers colluding to keep chicken expensive? Several lawsuits over the last couple of years suggest the answer is “yes”—see our reporting here, here, here, here, and here. And while the full truth has been maddeningly slow to unfurl, this week we’re treated to an NPR segment that captures the story’s crazy twists and turns. Reporter Dan Charles even unearthed audio recordings of whistleblower Arty Schronce talking about nature.
Hate thy neighbor. Industrial-scale chicken farms make bad neighbors. At least, that’s what one Ohio man is banking on: When his neighbors fought his plan to build a TJX HomeGoods distribution center on his land, he threatened to build a gigantic chicken farm instead. To drive his point home, he spread smelly chicken manure on his own property, hoping the stink would waft over to his neighbors’ houses, The Business Journal reports. We’d hazard a guess they’re calling him “chickenshit” right about now.
Suck responsibly. Tired of wasting a plastic straw every time you want an iced coffee? A collapsible, reusable, stainless-steel straw is on the horizon, Beverage Daily reports, thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. Meanwhile, disposal straw bans are gaining traction worldwide, according to the New York Times. Guess the plastics industry will just have to suck it up.