Thinly sliced: Byproducts from soda production could help reduce global warming

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.

Cola carbon. Could byproducts from soda production help with CO₂ mitigation? That’s what a team of Cornell researchers set out to learn, and the results are promising! To conduct their study, the scientists reduced four different types of soda to carbon powder, a substance which proved quite effective in capturing carbon dioxide (Diet Mountain Dew fared best, presumably due to its citric acid). While they acknowledge that this discovery is far from ready for large-scale industrial use, “this new research takes chemists one step closing in finding a cost-efficient waste product that could really make a difference for the future.”

Poor Puerto Rico. After decades of systematic discrimination and oppression from our federal government, the injustice continues apace. As The Washington Post reports, after resisting emergency post-hurricane hunger relief efforts for months, then reluctantly signing a $600-million food stamp package more than two weeks ago, the Trump administration still has not followed through on that funding. Come on, now.

Bro, do you even celery? In the robust genre of “scathing reporting on wellness fads,” The New York Times delivers a cheeky sendup of the celery juice phenomenon. Not in the know? Celery juice is quite hot right now amongst the Goop set, leading to price spikes, and, yes, celery shortages. As food columnist Tamar Haspel notes on Twitter, we “hope celery farmers are raking it in.”

Raw deal. A new ProPublica report documents complaints of racial prejudice against Koch Foods, America’s fifth-largest chicken producer. Though we’ve covered the tactics that vertically integrated poultry companies allegedly use to trap growers in a cycle of debt—including by demanding expensive upgrades—the piece provides evidence that black farmers in Mississippi received especially poor treatment. According to ProPublica, some of Koch’s African American suppliers were asked to make upgrades that other farmers weren’t. They also reported receiving the worst birds and feed, while others said the company’s all-white office staff used racial slurs to refer to growers of color. (The problem isn’t limited to private companies: Our latest investigation shows how discrimination by the federal government has also hurt the nation’s black farmers, who farm only 10 percent of the land they did in 1910.)

Digital drumstick. Does anyone remember Burger Time, the 1982 video game that “sent its protagonist, chef Peter Pepper, careening down ladders and building burgers while simultaneously avoiding the clutches of the evil Mr. Pickle, Mr. Egg, and Mr. Hot Dog?” Thrillist brings word on the current iterations of the foodie video game, wherein players can indulge in the pleasures of, say, building the perfect sushi roll or running their own restaurant. A fun read!

The Counter Stories by our editors.