FROM Stephanie Strom
Whole Foods vs. Organic Farmers Whole Foods is practically synonymous with “organic.” But now the grocery chain is on the outs with organic farmers. As other stores have begun to take over the organic market -- Costco is now the biggest seller of organic foods -- Whole Foods has had to innovate. One of their new sales tactics could, ironically, push customers away from organic foods. This is making organic farmers in California and elsewhere very angry. What’s their (organic, grass-fed) beef?
New Menu Item: Calorie Counts If you’ve ever wondered how many calories are in that tub of buttered popcorn at the movies, it looks like you’re about to find out -- whether you want to or not. This morning, the FDA announced new rules that will require movie theaters to post calorie counts, along with chain restaurants, vending machines, and amusement parks. We look at how the Affordable Care Act paved the way for more food labeling, and the intense lobbying to control who’s affected.
If You Like Us, You Can't Sue Us How much do you like Cheerios? Enough to give them a thumbs-up on Facebook? Well, if you do end up “liking” Cheerios - or any other product made by General Mills - you could be giving up your right to sue the company.
China and America's Food Supply The United States once called itself the "food basket" for much of the world, but that was before economic globalization. Last year, the US imported 4.1 billion pounds of food products from China. More than half the cod and tilapia we eat -- 50% of the apple juice and 31% of the garlic -- originated in China, a country infamous for food-safety problems. The FDA inspects less than 3% of the imports, but China reportedly treats food for export very differently from what it grows for domestic consumption. Where do Chinese food imports turn up without your knowing it? Are they getting a bad rap because of international politics?
Whole Foods to Label Genetically Modified Products Whole Foods Market has announced plans to become the first US retailer to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores. In California, often called America's food basket, the food industry spent millions of dollars last year to defeat a ballot initiative to require the labeling of genetically modified foods. Now Whole Foods will go the way of the European Union. Stephanie Strom, who reports for the New York Times , has more on the possible impact.
Website Exposes Petty Bribery Worldwide It's estimated that one in every four people on Earth pay a bribe every year, with a total cost of $1 trillion. Bribes are said to be one fourth of Afghanistan's GDP. Can social media campaigns make a difference? Websites exposing petty bribery are "spreading like kudzu around the globe," following the paradigm set by IPaidABribe.com in India. There, it costs an extra 10,000 rupees to get a legitimate income tax refund and 120 rupees to get a birth certificate for one's own baby. That's according to Stephanie Strom in today's New York Times .
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”