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Daikaya to Debut Collaboration With 3 Stars Brewing Company

July 8, 2014 0

While beer and ramen may seem like a staple of American college campuses, a hearty bowl of the hot stuff paired with the right brew has always been a part Japanese culture, according to Dave Coleman of 3 Stars Brewing Company. Daikaya ramen shop will debut its first house beer, the Sansho Panza, on Thursday, […]

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6 Easy Potluck Dishes For People Who Hate To Cook

July 8, 2014 0

There’s absolutely no heat required with these recipes, and all of the dishes look much more involved than they really are.

By Lynn Andriani

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Food in the Circular Economy: A Proposal From the European Union

July 8, 2014 0

Rarely, as in recent months, has the European Union been so unpopular among its citizens. In May 2014, the elections for the European Parliament, its legislative body, saw the success of political parties whose admitted goal is to reduce the meddling of the Union in the daily activities of those living across its 28 Member States. In fact, the EU is often perceived as another layer of wasteful, inefficient, and unbending bureaucracy that weighs on the already weak economic recovery of the continent.

Most Europeans have a clear sense of how much the EU regulations have influenced their food system, from safety to trade, from GMO crops to product traceability. Standardization has been a hotly debated issue. The Slow Food movement lobbied very effectively against a blind application of the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) system, introduced in 1994 to ensure safety in food production. The organization pointed out that not all manufacturers — and especially small, artisanal ones — are well suited to adopt the same criteria as industrial enterprises. On the other hand, Europeans do appreciate interventions in the case of emergencies. The European Food Safety Authority was established as the most appropriate response to guarantee a high level of food safety.

This time, the EU is weighing in on issues of sustainability and waste. On July 2nd, the Commission approved a set of proposals to increase the recycling rate in the Union and facilitate the transition to a “circular economy,” a system where no products go to waste and materials are constantly renewed. In a Q&A memo, the Commission explained: “a circular economy preserves the value added in products for as long as possible and virtually eliminates waste. It retains the resources within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, so that they remain in productive use and create further value … The circular economy differs from the prevailing linear ‘take-make-consume and dispose’ model, which is based on the assumption that resources are abundant, available and cheap to dispose of.” In this economic model, biological materials should always reenter the biosphere safely, while technological materials should circulate without entering the biosphere at all.

The potential impact of these theories and practices, which systemic design has embraced as its guiding principles, is enormous, including its possible influence on food systems. Some of the Commission’s proposals would have a direct influence on the way food is produced, packaged, distributed, and consumed. By 2030, the Union should reach the goal of recycling 70 percent of municipal waste and 80 per cent of packaging waste (glass, paper, plastic, etc.). From 2025, recyclable and biodegradable waste should not be allowed in landfills, to be eliminated completely within the following five years. A section of the document deals explicitly with food, highlighting record-keeping and traceability as tools to limit hazardous waste, invoking limits on the use of plastic bags, and demanding the restriction of illegal waste shipments.

Furthermore, the Commission proposed that “Member States develop national food-waste prevention strategies and endeavor to ensure that food waste in the manufacturing, retail/distribution, food service/hospitality sectors and households is reduced by at least 30 percent by 2025.” A very tall order which seems to focus mostly on the distribution and consumption side of the food system. The only explicit proposal that would directly affect production is the development of “a policy framework on phosphorus to enhance its recycling, foster innovation, improve market conditions and mainstream its sustainable use in EU legislation on fertilizers, food, water and waste.”

It is unclear to what extent the Commission will be able to bring these propositions to fruition in the present political climate, at a time when Union interventions are often met with suspicion if not outright criticism. The realization of these proposals may be perceived as entailing additional costs to producers and consumers at a time when Europe is recovering from a recession. Moreover, each Member State has a different degree of sensibility towards environmental and food production matters. However, the emergence of circular economic values in the language and perspectives of an important executive body is a feat of relevance in and of itself. It remains to be seen whether the general public, and national governments will embrace these ideas, and what policies will be adopted to make them accessible and understandable.

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Quinoa Trend Peaks, Results In Whiskey

July 8, 2014 0

Quinoa is the perfect example of the insane journey food trends travel. Someone catches wind of a great ingredient — like quinoa, which has been a Peruvian staple for centuries before making its way into our health food stores — markets it heavily, t…

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19 Times Bacon Went Too Far

July 8, 2014 0

Everybody loves bacon. Bacon is like the food world’s golden child and America’s best friend. Bacon is so beloved it would seem it could do no wrong, but that would be a hasty assumption. Bacon can do a lot of wrong.

Bacon has expanded from breakfast food to all-hours-of-the-day food. It’s everywhere, and sometimes it’s pretty gross. While we used to primarily see bacon on our breakfast plates, we’re now seeing bacon in burgers, wrapped around dates as hors d’oeuvres and even on gourmet doughnuts. Bacon, you’re more than welcome in these unexpected but highly appropriate places. But bacon, you’re a treat, and you shouldn’t be showing your face everywhere, in egregious amounts. You’re a fatty, decadent, special food that is best in aggressive quantities. A little goes a long way, and a lot can just be kind of nasty.

Before you get all fired up and tell us that there can never, ever be too much bacon, take a look at the kind of monstrosities we’re talking about.

bacon burger

Yeah, that’s too much bacon. We love bacon just as much as you do, which is why we don’t want it to ruin itself in displays like this bacon burger. We all know bacon may have jumped the shark, and we’re constantly trying to ignore the fact that it can get overplayed. But then new bacon items like these Bacon Choco-Tots come into the picture and remind us that bacon has limits just like everything else.

Bacon Choco-Tots! Once you tot, you can’t stop.

— Bacon Today (@bacontoday) June 27, 2014

It’s a fine line, and we’re drawing it. Here are 17 other times bacon went a too far:

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Crumbs Bake Shop Closes: Cupcake Chain Shuttering Stores In 12 States And Washington D.C.

July 8, 2014 0

NEW YORK (AP) — Crumbs says it is shuttering all its stores, a week after the struggling cupcake shop operator was delisted from the Nasdaq.

The New York City-based company said all employees were notified of the closures Monday. A representative for Crumbs could not immediately say how many workers were affected or how many stores it had remaining on its last day. “Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options,” the company said in an emailed statement. That will include filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.

A press release from its website in March listed 65 locations in 12 states and Washington, D.C. The website had not been updated with notification of the closures late Monday.

Crumbs was founded in 2003 and went public in 2011, selling giant cupcakes in flavors including Cookie Dough and Girl Scouts Thin Mints. More recently, however, it had been suffering from a steep decline in sales. For the three months ending March 31, Crumbs Bake Shop Inc. reported a loss of $3.8 million, steeper than the loss of $2 million from the same period a year ago.

The company had warned in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this past May that it “may be forced to curtail or cease its activities” if its operations didn’t generate enough cash flow.

As of the end of last year, Crumbs listed about 165 full-time employees and about 655 part-time hourly employees working in its stores.