In Times of Uncertainty, I Turn to the Cozy Instagram World of Sweet Potatoes

There’s nothing like a sweet potato covered in nut butter to start the day. | Elazar Sontag

It’ll make you feel better, too, I promise

It’s 3:50 a.m. and I’m awake, looking at pictures of sweet potatoes on Instagram. I like to sleep with the big window above my bed open so fresh air circulates all night, but lately that’s impossible as noxious smoke and wildfires consume California. The smell wakes me many nights, and there’s no point trying to go back to sleep before my overworked air purifier has had a full hour to pull the worst of it out of my bedroom. Until then, I lie in bed and scroll past photo after glorious photo of steaming, pillowy, ready-to-be-devoured Japanese sweet potatoes. I’ve stumbled into the depths of autumnal Japan Instagram, and I want to stay here forever.

Two weeks ago, I couldn’t have told you one thing … Read more

APHIS is making changes to national poultry plan

The National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) is getting an update to align with changes in the poultry industry and to incorporate new scientific information and technologies into the plan, according to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

These updates, published in the Federal Register,  are consistent with the recommendations approved by representatives from across the poultry industry at the 2018 NPIP Biennial Conference, APHIS reports. The changes will take effect on Nov. 4 this year.

In this update, APHIS is:

  • creating a new U.S. Newcastle Disease (ND) clean program;
  • updating low pathogenic avian influenza regulations on indemnity and compensation;
  • creating an NPIP subpart specific to the game bird industry; and
  • clarifying and updating the program regulations to match current scientific information and technologies.

The ND Clean program and compartment status will focus on primary breeder egg-type chickens, meat-type chickens, and turkeys – the animals that provide the … Read more

More Than 19,000 Whole Foods and Amazon Employees Had Documented Cases of COVID-19

The sign at the checkout area in a Whole Foods Market reminds shoppers to respect social distancing guidelines by waiting behind the taped lines on the floor. | Shutterstock

Plus, Subway insists its bread is still bread, no matter what Ireland says, and more news to start your day

Amazon insists that approximately 20K is not as many infections as there could have been

On Thursday, Amazon released a report on the number of front-line employees, both at Amazon and at Whole Foods Markets, who contracted COVID-19 from March through September. Overall, there were 19,816 out of 1.37 million employees with “confirmed or presumed” cases, a positivity rate of 1.44{ab5f2c9c740426ae4c9b4912729231eec62bb8d7f7c15dd2b52ffa544e442110}. However, Amazon insists this is a good thing, because — based on company analysis — far more people should have gotten it. “If the rate among Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees were the same as it is for the … Read more

Food safety culture: What to do now that everyone is watching?


By Kari Hensien 

This year has brought nothing but huge changes for the world, especially for the food industry. Shutdowns, new operational models, and re-openings at this scale are new territory for us all. Even the definition of food safety culture has changed from “what you’re doing when no one is watching” to “what you do when everyone is watching.”

Customers and employees have their eyes open wider than ever before. Employees are watching to make sure you’re not taking their safety for granted, and customers are watching closely to make sure your employees’ actions don’t ring any alarm bells for health and safety.

Even though the definition of food safety culture has expanded, that doesn’t mean the purpose of food safety culture has changed. And the purpose of creating a food safety culture plan is to reap the benefits of employee buy-in, reduced risk, increased personal responsibility and … Read more

To Find Hope in American Cooking, James Beard Looked to the West Coast

James Beard in 1972 | Photo by Arthur Schatz/Life Magazine/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

In an excerpt from The Man Who Ate Too Much, the culinary icon returns to his hometown and begins to articulate his vision for American cuisine

James Beard looms large in the American culinary canon. The name is now synonymous with the awards, known as the highest honors in American food, and the foundation behind them. But before his death in 1985, well before the existence of the foundation and the awards, Beard was a culinary icon. In The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard, John Birdsall tells Beard’s life story, highlighting how Beard’s queerness contributed to the concept of American cuisine he introduced to a generation of cooks.

Beard’s ascent to food-world fame wasn’t immediate. He came to food after an attempt at a life as a Read more