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.
Hoisted with their own petard. The National Labor Relations Board has vacated its joint employer decision after a board member, Trump nominee William Emanuel, was found to have a conflict of interest in the case, the NewYork Times reports. What’s a joint employer? For years, corporations like McDonald’s weren’t on the hook for some labor law violations at their franchises. That changed with an Obama-era ruling, which found corporations were responsible even for “indirect” violations, and was reversed by Trump’s labor board in December. As it turns out, Emanuel’s former law firm had once represented a party in the case. The agency’s inspector general said Emanuel should have recused himself. But he didn’t, and here we are.
Atlantic fish to fry. Seafood Source reports that Washington state has banned Atlantic salmon farming operations. The trouble started last year, when hundreds of thousands of the non-native fish broke free from their nets and swam into the Pacific. The escaped fish were under the care of Cooke Aquaculture, a Canadian seafood company, which is now threatening to sue under NAFTA laws to maintain its operations in Washington. Initially, the company blamed the great escape on strong tides during the solar eclipse.
Home to roost. When Tyson wanted to build an industrial processing plant in Tonganoxie, Kansas, residents told it to get lost. A year later, the local furor may be for naught, as the state senate just passed a bill to allow processors to build a network of chicken farms throughout the county, the Hays Daily News reports. Put another way: Tyson can’t yet jam a million birds in one plant, but can still up its production capacity in Kansas. The only blowback? A persistent local belief that scores of “chicken farms are going to be smelly, dangerous, disease-riddled operations.”
Power Gari is people. In the future, everyone will ingest calories and nutrients in the forms of flavored bars, liquids, and powders, and the elite will eat pure whole foods. That’s the apocalyptic vision we had after reading in The Washington Post that Hampton Creek, the food start-up famous for lab-created mayonnaise, is getting into international food aid with a highly fortified porridge called Power Gari. Why stick to the developing world? If Americans are already willing to buy Slimfast and Soylent, who’s to say they wouldn’t buy this too, as long as it was rebranded as a life hack that optimized a meal into a one-step process?