A Kroger-Albertsons Merger Would Be Bad for Almost Everyone

Kroger and Albertsons own more than 5,000 supermarkets across the country. | Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Why a coalition called Stop the Merger plans to “fight like hell” to prevent it

It’s likely that the place you shop for groceries every week is owned by one of two companies — Kroger, or Albertsons. Together, these two corporate behemoths own more than 5,000 supermarkets across the country, including regional chains like King Soopers, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Ralphs, and Vons, and now they’re looking to consolidate the grocery industry even further by joining forces in a $24.6 billion merger.

In October 2022, Kroger and Albertsons announced that both companies’ respective boards had voted to approve a merger. If the merger is completed in 2024 as its executives expect, Kroger-Albertsons would be the second-largest grocery retail chain in the country, right behind Walmart. In order to actually happen, though, the merger needs approval from … Read more

One dead in UK Listeria outbreak

Health officials in the United Kingdom are investigating a potential outbreak of Listeria that has killed one person.

Whole genome sequencing of listeriosis samples by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has identified three cases with one death, possibly as part of an outbreak.

Patients are aged 59 or older and are from the south of England or London. One person fell sick in November 2022, while the other two became ill in February 2023.

A similar strain as the one from patient samples has also been found in some unspecified food products and samples taken from food production environments.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned people not to eat Baronet soft cheeses because they are contaminated with Listeria. In some cases, an “exceptionally high” level of the pathogen was found.

A closely genetically related strain of Listeria monocytogenes found in samples of Baronet cheese was detected in the … Read more

During Ramadan in Hyderabad, All Roads Lead to Haleem

Crowd in Old City during Ramadan. | Navin Sigamany

During the holy month, legions of cooks gather at restaurants, warehouses, and street stalls to spend hours mashing the savory porridge of mutton, wheat, and spices, a beloved fixture of night markets and family iftar feasts

For much of the year, dawn breaks over sleepy lanes in Hyderabad, India, as chai and newspaper vendors rush to deliver piping hot tea alongside the news. But during Ramadan, mornings in the Old City, Secunderabad, Mallepally, Tolichowki, and other neighborhoods bring a different kind of activity. Dozens of eateries and warehouses fill with workers starting the long process of making massive amounts of haleem, an iconic savory porridge-like dish enjoyed across the Muslim world but especially beloved in Hyderabad during Ramadan, when it becomes a staple of the nightly iftar meal.

Across its many locations, the legendary Pista House, a name nearly synonymous with … Read more

Data lacking in FSA assessment of hazards from cell-based meat

An assessment of hazards in cell-based meat products has found considerable gaps in knowledge.

There are several areas where data is lacking or information is required to manage the risk or hazard that the products may pose. More work is needed from the cultured meat industry and by regulators to help understand the hazards of individual products, found the assessment published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The purpose of the report was to identify hazards in the cultivated meat production process to help inform the FSA risk assessment process for authorization. It was also important that products do not pose any microbiological or chemical concerns. The research was based on a review of scientific literature in 2020.

There was little or no data on the final analytical composition of products, key toxicology data, nutrition profiles, product stability, allergy risk, and any recorded adverse effects when consumed by animals or … Read more

Olive Oil Is Jumping the Shark

The Oleato line of drinks. | Starbucks

Starbucks is introducing a line of olive oil-infused drinks, taking olive oil from ingredient to flavor

For all its problems, there is perhaps no better bellwether of trends than Starbucks. It’s where pistachio is popping off, where cake pops came to the masses, and of course where PSL continues its reign. Now, Starbucks has introduced a drink featuring a flavor that’s been on the rise elsewhere, auguring our culinary future. Say hello to olive oil coffee, and to olive oil officially jumping the shark.

In February, Starbucks introduced its “Oleato” line of drinks, each infused with a spoonful of Partanna extra-virgin olive oil, to its stores in Italy. Starbucks refers to the drinks as a “revolutionary new coffee ritual,” with olive oil being steamed, shaken, or blended into both the Oleato drinks and, in some markets, into any drink customers want. The Oleato … Read more