When it comes to organic certification, food producers must follow strict guidelines.

For an organic steak, for instance, the cow it came from has to be raised on organic feed, and the feed mix can't be produced with pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetic engineering.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a set of rules for organic farmed fish. Several consumer groups, though, say the recommended rules don't go far enough to meet the strict standards of other organic foods.

Sandwich Monday: Meow Parlour

Feb 2, 2015

This week, my friend Allie and I went to New York City's first cat cafe, Meow Parlour. Parlour is spelled the European way, because cat hair in your coffee is very a la mode in Paris.

Emily Hu is a veritable master chef of the dorm room.

No oven? No problem. The college student is skilled at navigating the cooking limitations of campus living — she can whip up cakes with just four ingredients and a microwave, and make muffins in a toaster oven.

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Let's face it: We are people who consume many of our meals on the go. That means we're not eating on real plates or bowls but out of plastic containers and paper boxes. And perhaps daily, we drink our coffees and sodas out of plastic or plastic-lined paper cups.

While reporting my story on how foods earn a label certifying them as "non-GMO," I came across a comment that struck me – and it might surprise you, too.

The comment came from Ken Ross, the CEO of Global ID. (He didn't make it into the final story.) Global ID is the parent company of FoodChain ID, one of the companies that traces ingredients to determine whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Schools are offering more and more healthy foods for lunch. And schools that participate in the National School Lunch program require students to choose a fruit and a vegetable side. Yet plate waste is a big problem in schools; as The Salt has reported, kids throw away anywhere from 24 to 35 percent of what's on their trays.

How Your Food Gets The 'Non-GMO' Label

Jan 20, 2015

Demand for products that don't contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is exploding.

Now many food companies are seeking certification for products that don't have any genetically modified ingredients, and not just the brands popular in the health food aisle. Even Cheerios, that iconic cereal from General Mills, no longer contains GMOs.

About a third of all Chipotle restaurants are not serving carnitas at the moment, because the restaurant chain has suspended one of its major pork suppliers.

The restaurant chain has declined to identify the supplier and the exact reasons for the suspension. In its official statements, Chipotle said only that the supplier was not in compliance with the company's animal welfare standards.

But when David Maren heard the news, he had a pretty good idea what the problem was.

The United Nations has 193 member states. And United Noshes aims to recreate meals from every last one of them, alphabetically, as a series of dinner parties.

When upscale food trucks roared into popularity a few years ago, the folks running them praised their rolling operations as far cheaper and simpler to launch than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Now, entrepreneurs are finding similar advantages in food bikes.

Brewers, chefs, baristas and even farmers are turning to pedal-powered vehicles to bring their goods to consumers — and, sometimes, actually produce them on the street.

Miami Chef Douglas Rodriguez is known as the "Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine" for the pan-Latin American style of cooking he helped pioneer. But, as the son of Cuban immigrants, his early cooking education was firmly rooted in the traditions of his parents' homeland.

Easter is still far away, but in the United Kingdom, the weeks after Christmas are when stores begin stocking Cadbury's iconic Creme Eggs — those foil-wrapped chocolates filled with gooey "whites" and "yolks" made of candy.

For many people there, the eggs aren't just sweets — they're "edible time capsules that take consumers back to their childhood with every mouthful," as the U.K.'s Telegraph put it.

How many peanuts did you snack on last week? If you don't remember, you're not alone. We humans are notoriously bad at remembering exactly what and how much we ate. And if there's one pattern to our errors, it's that we underestimate — unintentionally and otherwise.

And yet, for decades, researchers who want to amass large quantities of data about how much Americans eat and exercise have had to rely on individuals to self-report this information.

Some pizza restaurants decorate the walls with signed photos of minor local celebrities who once stopped by for a slice.

At Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, the shop is adorned with Post-it notes and letters. The messages are from customers who gave $1 so homeless members in the community could get a slice, which costs $1.

"The homeless, they come in and say, 'I hear you give out free pizza to homeless people,' " owner Mason Wartman tells The Salt.

Our current cultural obsession with food is undeniable. But, while the advent of the foodie may be a 21st century phenomenon, from an evolutionary standpoint, flavor has long helped define who we are as a species, a new book argues.

In Tasty: the Art and Science of What We Eat, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John McQuaid offers a broad and deep exploration of the human relationship to flavor.

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," McQuaid writes.

Weeknight Kitchen: Chickpea Sloppy Joes

Jan 7, 2015

Serves 6 to 8
Gluten-Free, Nut-Free

The first time I visited my in-laws in Spain, they fed me a sweet, doughy treat that, for a brief moment, made me wonder whether they were trying to kill me.

You see, it was Jan. 6, el Dia de Reyes – or Three Kings Day — which commemorates the visit of the magi to the baby Jesus. My hospitable in-laws had laid out a delicious roscón, a ring-shaped cake delicately flavored with orange blossom water. But as I tucked into this scrumptious offering, my teeth struck something very, very hard.

Despite the buzz about paleo and raw food diets, a new ranking of the 35 top diets puts these two near the bottom of the list.


Columbia? Taken. Mississippi? Taken. Sacramento? El Niño? Marlin? Grizzly? Sorry, they're all taken.