A turkey of a turkey
Bezillions of bugs!
Meat of the matter
Antibiotics in agriculture
Replacing antibiotics in feed?
Freaky food stories -- all true
Image courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories.

When green turns to red, throw it out!


Africanized bees on honeycomb.

Don't mess with these bees!

Image courtesy Department of Entomology at University of California at Riverside.


Image courtesy The Energy and Environmental Research Center.

Foul food

Odd food for thought
Scrounge for food stories, and you'll stir up some strange stuff. Here's a pot-luck selection of funny food features for your delectation.

    Circle color indicates whether red meat has thawed.

  • Like the idea of eating "frozen" fish that actually spent a couple of days at 50 degrees? This stuff is poor for the palate, and a refuge for food-borne disease. To the rescue gallops New Mexico's Sandia National Laboratory, with a patented temperature sensor. A wire made of a "memory metal" called nitinol dramatically changes shape at preset temperatures. If that frozen filet thaws in a truck along I-80, the wire will rip a piece of paper that signifies poor storage temperature -- even if the fish later refreezes. (Don't ask us why they show steak -- do they eat frozen steak in New Mexico?)

  • Savory sewage? The latest salvo in the food fight between the United Kingdom and France features allegations that the French feed sewage and/or sewage sludge to farm animals (see "French Have Fed..." in the bibliography) and our mad cow coverage.

  • Explosions in the microwave? Cornell University is probing the basic physics of microwaving. Ashim Datta developed a computer model to calculate the electromagnetics, heat transfer and biochemical changes of food inside the oven. With science on your side, we don't wanna hear 'bout soggy French fries or half-cooked quiche!

  • Food irradiation. It sounds unappetizing, but it's not really dumb either. Radiation can kill microbes hidden inside meat. Here's our coverage.

  • A cherryburger and a Coke? Sounds revolting, but scientists reported in Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Dec. 21, 1998) that burgers with 11.5 percent tart cherry tissue had "significantly" less suspected carcinogens called heterocyclic aromatic amines than burgers created with, well, 100 percent meat. The hybrid's inventor, Ray Pleva, is a Michigan butcher who grows cherries. The man with the unique resume says the unique treat is on school-lunch menus in 16 states.

  • The Africanized honeybee -- the dreaded killer bee that has been moving north from South America -- is a miserable creature. A stinger with attitude, it's so ornery that not even a bee-keeper could love it. Now, bee specialists at Purdue University have located the gene responsible for its irresponsible behavior, perhaps opening the door to faster identification of the bees, or even genetic manipulation to help them give peace a chance. Either solution could help the huge number of crops that depend on bees for pollination.

    'Cannon' shoots straw on a pond of manure.

  • When it comes to public nuisances, giant hog farms rank with killer bees. When a North Dakota hog farm with 5,000 sows (mother pigs) began releasing a certain perfume into the air, neighbors went on the warpath. So the EnviroPork farm (yes, that's their name!) called researchers at North Dakota's Energy & Environment Research Center for help. The solution was to spray a thick layer of barley straw on a two-acre "lagoon" of pig manure. The straw housed microbes that (yum yum!) eat and decompose the stinky chemicals. How do you pitchfork a foot of straw on a sea of slop? You shoot the straw onto the vast, brown sea with a straw cannon, that's how.

Fed up with foul food? Read more in our bibliography.

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