Testing, testing. The Trump administration has greenlit drug-testing for people seeking unemployment insurance in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The policy, introduced by former Republican Governor Scott Walker in 2016, faced extensive criticism for placing an undue burden on poor people. Nevertheless, the Walker administration pushed forward with it, and in 2017, expanded the policy to include drug testing for food stamps users. This month’s approval from the feds gives the state permission to drug-test workers—like airline pilots—who are routinely tested anyways, the Sentinel explains. That’s still too vague for current Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who says that more guidance is needed before testing can begin.
Kicked to the curd. Two men were arrested for selling $50,000 worth of cheese stolen from Leprino Foods Co., the country’s largest producer of mozzarella. One of the thieves was a Leprino employee and had been pilfering mozz’ from the company’s California plant for two years. KTLA in Los Angeles has the story.
86ing worker autonomy. In Portland, Oregon, an Outback Steakhouse franchise announced it would begin using an ominous computer program called Presto Vision. It analyzes footage from surveillance cameras to track interactions between restaurant staff and diners. The idea is to spit out data about how long a server takes at a table, or the speed at which food is coming out, which bosses could then use to, uh, “maximize employee efficiency and performance,” Wired reports. No word on whether this “maximizing” could be a euphemism for “firing workers.”
Vintage foodstuffs. Amazon claims to have a robust process to ensure the quality of their food products, but CNBC reports that a slew of customers have complained about receiving expired, rancid, and generally unsafe orders. Third-party sellers have profited from Amazon’s lax regulations and continue to sell goods from closeout sales and liquidation warehouses. Teavana merch, for instance, continues to be resold there, even though the products were discontinued over two years ago. “[S]omeone in the supply chain considered these not suitable to be offered for consumption,” said Sara Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“We’re working on scaling up.” Want to be a food entrepreneur? Here’s the plan. Take something that everyone already loves—like coffee. Find something problematic about it—the massive carbon footprint caused by deforestation. Propose the solution—a game-changing technology. Host a demonstration for the press, but don’t tell them how it works. Show those articles to Silicon Valley funders. Convince them to sink millions into developing a product that may never come. Eater Seattle gamely participates in the hype cycle of the latest future food—bean-free coffee—pitched as yet another way to make the world a better place.