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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.

No farm left behind. Last week, we wrote about an ass-backward legislative effort in Iowa that would leverage the federally funded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food aid program to keep conventional eggs on the shelf. It was a twisted means to an industry-friendly end: If successful, the legislation would override efforts in states like California to impose new animal welfare restrictions on producers. This week, FERN reports on a federal bill that would accomplish the same thing. Sixty-four organizations are opposing the bill—read reporter Leah Douglas’ quick Twitter explainer to catch up.

Don’t go there. For years, Papa John’s was football’s favorite pizza. That changed last fall, when the chain’s eponymous CEO, John Schnatter, blamed sagging sales on the NFL, and its decision to allow player protest. We covered that gaffe, and some of the possible after-effects, but never thought it would lead to an ouster from the league. The Outline seizes on the politics of Pizza Hut—now, with 25 percent more cheese, the Papa’s gridiron successor.

Once you label me… Beginning in 2020, food companies will slap a new nutrition facts label on their packaged goods. To prepare them for that change, FDA has issued guidance on the label, including information on how to declare added sugars, like honey and maple syrup. The new labels will also make things easier for eaters trying to figure out how many grams of sugar are in that can of soda, as opposed to an oddly defined serving. Food Navigator breaks it down.

…You negate me. A federal judge has ruled that Monsanto will not have to include cancer warnings on Roundup labels in California, Reuters reports. You may remember that glyphosate is the active ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup. We covered California’s decision to add glyphosate to its Proposition 65 list, which is an ongoing roster of ingredients that may cause cancer. U.S. District Judge William Shubb ruled the evidence linking glyphosate to cancer was not sufficient to require a warning label.

Public goods. Dan Barber, the head chef of New York’s famed Blue Hill restaurant, has teamed up with a Cornell University plant breeder and a former extension agent to launch a seed company. Row 7 Seeds breeds at a scale closer to mass market, and the seeds may have larger, more predictable yields. A portion of the proceeds go to Cornell, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where a horticulture professor, Irwin Goldman, bred a Barber fave: the Badger Flame beet. Cornell talks to the principals about the venture.

Follow the dough. We’ve covered Dave’s Killer Bread a few times before. Remember the alternative hiring summit funded by his foundation? Or the trike delivery company that delivers his bread in Portland? This week, Tove Danovich profiled the person behind America’s largest organic bread company for The Ringer.

Surveillance steak… Last month, we told you that Walmart is investing in blockchain to improve food traceability. Now comes news that it’s developing a technology that follows produce from farm to shelf, and looks out for temperature and physical defects. Dubbed “Eden,” the program will learn to compare images of produce with their real-life analogues, automatically separating subpar apples from unblemished beauties. The company will also place temperature-tracking devices on individual produce cases, monitoring conditions in real time and even rerouting trucks if lettuce starts to overheat. Business Insider reports Eden could save $2 billion in food waste over the next five years.

…Seared on a hot plate. It’s official: The One Top, designed by BuzzFeed’s Tasty, has just been released at Walmart. Instagram giving you some #flatlay envy? This beauty can be plugged in anywhere, meaning you’ll have way more options when staging in-progress cooking adventures for your bespoke food blog (we really loved this item when it was called a hot plate). Evidently, Tasty and camp aren’t concerned about the many people who, for many reasons, may find themselves without the fully-equipped kitchen this commercial is filmed in (and it’s for them that hot plates were created in the first place). For Tasty and friends, the One Top is a marvel of modern-day engineering, and from the sound of this up-sell, it’s just what your favorite food bloggers have been looking for. And they say new media doesn’t make any money.

Correction: We published a one-liner about Row 7 Seeds that was riddled with errors. The company does not genetically engineer its seeds. Nor are the seeds heirloom varieties. The University of Wisconsin–Madison horticulture professor, Irwin Goldman, developed the Badger Flame beet, and not the Honeynut squash. Finally, after we published, a Row 7 Seeds spokeswoman who brought errors to our attention also informed us that the company sponsors variety trials by inviting “chefs, growers and eaters to share feedback from the field and kitchen.” We regret these errors.