Perdue surveys the Carolinas. As the waters recede in the Carolinas, the full scale of agricultural damage is starting to come into focus—and it appears Hurricane Florence has exacted a heavy toll on livestock producers. So far, the storm has taken the lives of an estimated 3.4 million broiler chickens and 5,500 hogs, according to North Carolina’s most recent state estimates. State assessors have not yet released their assessment of row crop damages. FERN’s Ag Insider reports that Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited a flooded poultry barn this week and commented on the overpowering odor of rotting carcasses, calling his driving tour of the affected areas “extremely impactful.” Meanwhile, recent NASA imagery shows polluted rivers flowing into the ocean after the storm—dark plumes in the Atlantic that are visible from space.
A pittance. By now, everyone from Bernie Sanders to the Archbishop of Canterbury is complaining about Amazon’s low wages, spurred on by H. Claire Brown’s investigation of the high rates of food stamps enrollment in the company’s warehouse workforce. Now, The Washington Post reports, the company is handing out raises of between 25 and 55 cents an hour. But if it’s anew era, some workers aren’t buying it. One anonymously quoted employee said it was his or her first 3 percent raise in four years, suggesting the effort was nothing more than “damage control.” The source also described the terribly awkward scene that unfolded in a San Bernadino, California fulfillment center as a manager broke the news. “The HR manager was like, ‘Aren’t you excited? Come on, clap!’” this person said. “We started a slow clap, with no emotions on our faces.”
Crate expectations. Meat is confusing. And it seems that, for a while, meal kit company Blue Apron used that confusion to obscure that it was sourcing pork from pigs possibly raised in gestation crates—while saying it didn’t,Bloomberg reports. Until recently, Blue Apron’s pork supplier was TysonFoods, a company not exactly known for a progressive stance on animal welfare. Tyson, despite branding its product as “Open Prairie Natural Pork,” didn’t make any verifiable promises about whether or not it used crates. Now, Blue Apron has severed the relationship. It’s a reminder that the term “natural” doesn’t mean much when applied to food. Blue Apron execs might want to break out our meat-labeling guide again.
Pret pratfall. Two new lawsuits have been filed against the fast casual chain Pret A Manger, including one by the Organic Consumers Association. The claim? Since lab tests reveal trace amounts of the ubiquitous herbicide glyphosate in its food, The Guardian reports, plaintiffs are arguing that the company’s “natural” claim is misleading. It’s probably true that customers who privilege “all-natural” eating don’t expect to encounter herbicide residues in their food—and a court may agree, if a related recent case involving Nature Valley granola bars is any indication. Still, depending on the levels detected, these fears may be unreasonable and unfounded—as our Patrick Clinton points out.
Yes, we have no bananas! Things sure did get slippery at a Texas prison last week, when corrections officers unintentionally intercepted a cocaine delivery hidden in a shipment of donated bananas. An officer noticed that one box just “felt different” from the others, according to The Dallas Morning News. When he found a package of white powder underneath the first bundle of bananas, customs officials were called to the scene. They arrived to confirm that the white powder was cocaine, smuggled from an undisclosed location for an unknown recipient. This shit is, indeed, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.