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Issues News

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.

HQ2TK. Amazon on Thursday announced that it would withdraw plans to open a planned headquarters in New York City, citing intense local opposition. “A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward,’’ Amazon said in a statement, first reported by The New York Times. The headquarters had become a local flashpoint, spurring a national discussion about the role of government subsidies, the importance of transparency, and the impact trillion-dollar tech companies can have on rents and local businesses.

Though New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo decried the sudden turn of events—“a small group [of] politicians put their interests above their community… [and] should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity,” he wrote in a statement—at least some from the food community expressed relief. “Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers, Amazon says you do it our way or not at all,” said Chelsea Connor, director of communications for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), in a statement provided to The New Food Economy. “That’s not what a responsible business would do.”

Moving on, or not. The budget compromise reached late Wednesday by the House and Senate late Wednesday night includes a provision that indefinitely postpones the United States Department of Agriculture’s plan to reorganize and relocate its Economic Research Service, Politico reports. On Thursday afternoon, Sen. McConnell announced President Trump would sign the bill—but also declare a national emergency to secure additional border wall funding. This plan will prevent another government shutdown when the current stopgap spending deal expires on Saturday.

Lethal lettuce. The FDA on Wednesday announced the conclusion of its investigation into November’s E. coli outbreak, and the results are, well, inconclusive. The agency found only one farm with a positive match to the outbreak strain, but its investigation indicated that more than one farm was to blame. So no news is … no news? Meanwhile, Maryn McKenna examines the impact of climate change on leafy greens for Wired. Turns out, extreme weather might’ve been a major player in last year’s contamination scares.

A journey to the edge of taste. Can you name the best-selling cookbook of 2018? If you can’t, it’s likely not because the recipes are too fussy. Or because the author’s a total unknown. The Washington Post introduces the ordinary, middle-of-the-road cookbook that had seriously huge reach in 2018—what one home cook calls “the Nickelback of the cookbook world.”

Fast, still furious. New York City’s fast-food workers have had a lot of wins in the last few years: They’ve earned a $15 minimum wage, the right to claim open shifts before their employer makes new hires, and protection against back-to-back closing and opening shifts, or “clopenings.” The restaurant industry has sued the city over the scheduling laws. Now, workers are fighting for protections against unfair firings, The New York Times reports.

Roses are red / violets are blue / today’s the last day to sign up for tariff relief / so tweets Sonny Perdue.

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