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Highlights and questions from the Natural Products Expo West trade show

In March I attended the Natural Products Expo West, one of the largest trade shows for the natural products industry. Produced by New Hope Natural Media, the show had hundreds of exhibitors promoting their products — companies looking for new distribution, looking for new buyers, testing new flavors or...

S.F. restaurants experiment with wine on tap

Kicking the bottle habit:  Instead of recycling bins overflowing with empty 750 mL bottles, you'll see reusable wine casks outside a handful of San Francisco restaurants. Long a tradition in Europe, these restaurants — which include such luminaries as Salt House, OTD, Delfina, and Frances — are give it a...

Asia could teach U.S. some new corn tricks

Thanks to fertile Midwestern plains, commodity-focused agricultural policy, a foreign policy that makes cheap petroleum a high priority, and an innovative agricultural industry, Americans are truly the 'people of the corn.' As the film "King Corn" and the book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" have well documented,...

Koreans crack open a cool, frosty dose of fiber

As an observer of the American food scene, I see many instances of oddly supplemented foods and drinks, where everyday foods are dosed with antioxidants or vitamins or another supposedly healthful supplement to give its buyer a sense of healthy satisfaction. But there is always another surprise lurking...

BPA from bottles enters the human body

The proof is in the pee? Bisphenol A (BPA) is suspected to be an endocrine disruptor and a potential cause of numerous chronic diseases, leading to various efforts to ban its use. A newly released study by researchers at Harvard and the Centers for Disease Control finds bottles made from BPA lead to BPA...

Not milk: The ingredient behind the dairy crisis

I have no idea what it would feel like to be a dairy farmer. I don't run a business that was started by my father or mother or grandparents, or that I built myself; I don't own and manage land that has been in my family for generations. Come to think of it, I've never really had to make a major business...

Digest – News: Label libel, Chiquita goes bananas, and another reason to stay off soda

We digest the news for you twice a week. Read something great? Send it our way at dig...@ethicurean.com. Take it to the limit: Many consumers who buy organic food assume it is safer than conventional food. Some conflate the word with local, with humane treatment of livestock, and with fair pay for workers....

Digest – News: Meat on the move, the chains of biotech, resources for organic

Drop it like it's hot: Brazilian beef giant JBS, which snagged Smithfield's beef business last March, abandoned plans to purchase U.S. National Beef Packing Co. on Friday. The JBS/National Beef merger was under anti-trust investigation by the Justice Department, which celebrated JBS' decision and claimed...

Digest – Blogs: Sweet analysis, rural internet woes, good food in the city

Never let them see you sweet: Tom Philpott looks into a new Tufts study that finds corn subsidies may have been a boon to the HFCS industry, but they alone don't make bad food cheap. Australia has similar obesity patterns but eats sugar instead. What we need to do, Tom says, is figure out "how to...

Beer me: Trolling for craft brews in an ocean of Bud

Out of fairness, I should begin this post by admitting that I do not actually like beer. Never a big drinker, when the urge hits, my tastes veer toward wine and, OK, a nip of whiskey. But just as I appreciate (and, in fact, spend my professional life studying) livestock production despite being a...

Finding common grounds: a review of “Black Gold”

How many cups of coffee do you drink during the day? Now, how many cups of coffee would you guess are consumed every day throughout the world? Not being a hard-core coffee drinker myself – one cup will usually satisfy me, if I even need that – I hadn't given the global coffee trade a whole lot...

Digest – Commentary: Bottle ballast, foxy argument

California wines turned back in Ohio: Our blog-buddy Tyler Colman lands his "red, white, and green" wine carbon-footprint research in the Times' op-ed section. (New York Times) And a pheasant holiday to you too: Commentator Geoffrey Wheatcroft argues that "on every honest test, from moral to...

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