Food in the News: When "Green" Is Gray, and Pork from Petri Dishes | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Food in the News: When "Green" Is Gray, and Pork from Petri Dishes

A sampling of interesting food stories in the headlines recently:1) In today's Washington Post, food writer Jane Black takes a hard look at what the restaurant buzzwords "sustainable," "local" and "family farm" really mean, using the new D.C. restaurant Founding Farmers as an example. Her analysis ...

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Pan-seared tuna, courtesy of Flickr user stevendepolo


A sampling of interesting food stories in the headlines recently:

1) In today's Washington Post, food writer Jane Black takes a hard look at what the restaurant buzzwords "sustainable," "local" and "family farm" really mean, using the new D.C. restaurant Founding Farmers as an example. Her analysis is surprising, and—judging from the comments so far—rather controversial.

2) In a similar vein, this story about unlabeled bluefin tuna illustrates how challenging it can be to choose truly "sustainable foods" when dining out. When researchers used DNA barcoding to identify the species labeled on some New York City and Denver restaurant menus simply as "tuna," they found that many of the samples were in fact bluefin tuna, a severely overfished species that scientists have warned is on the verge of extinction.

3) Is meat grown in a lab still meat? Dutch scientists announced that they have found a way to grow pork in a lab, using stem cells from the muscles of live pigs, a method that could become commercially viable within five years. ( More explanation here.) This could translate to a reduced environmental impact from pig farms and slaughterhouses—less carbon emissions, and less solid waste—and PETA might even approve (after all, they launched a contest last year offering $1 million for lab-grown chicken meat).

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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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