The Weekly Potluck: Nov 13th

Compiled by Kate Prengaman

Here’s some highlights of food science news out this week: We’ve got suspicious honey, pesticide rich fish, the McRib, hot peppers, and soy protien as cruel and unusual punishment.

Your honey might be cheating on you! An investigative report from Food Science News shows that a lot of mass market honey is not actually honey. Natural honey contains pollen from the flowers the bees visited, allowing researchers to identify where the honey was produced.  They found 76 percent of the grocery store honey had been ultra-filtered to remove the pollen.  This is dangerous because it means that the honey can not be traced to a producer or region.  China is infamous for producing adulterated honey, and sneaking it into US markets through other countries supply routes, despite taxes to prevent Chinese honey from flooding the US market.  Without the pollen, we can’t know whether our honey is natural or native. Check the article out.

Fishy farmed fish food? Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a European applied-research company developed a test to monitor if farmed fish have pesticide residue. About half of our commercially available fish grew on farms, which are traditional fed fish meal.  Farmers, trying to be more sustainable, are using crops like soy and corn for fish food, but these crops can have pesticides. The European Union is expected to issue standards for farmed fish soon.  Glad to hear they’ll be protecting consumers from something I hadn’t even thought to worry about yet.

Prison inmates in Florida sue because of a diet based on 50 percent soy protein.

One too many bouts of flatulence and cramping has led a Florida inmate to sue the Department of Corrections, arguing that the prison’s soy-based turkey dogs and sloppy Joes amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

NPR reported on a man’s quest to grow the world’s hottest chili pepper.  The Awl considers the McDonald’s McRib with an economic analysis on pork commodity prices. Last but not least, to get us ready for Thanksgiving, NPR’s The Salt reviewed a Home Food Safety report that showed that Americans rarely us meat thermometers, even though they prevent many food-borne illnesses by ensuring the meat is properly cooked. Very comforting for the next potluck you attend.  That’s all the news for now. We’ll have more from the intersection of food and science next week.


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