Chuck Siegel, owner and chief chocolatier of Charles Chocolates, shows Bay Area Bites readers how to make their own easy and outrageously delicious chocolate truffles. Stephanie Rosenbaum tries out his technique at home.
Food labels have become battlegrounds. Government regulators, companies and food movement activists have been fighting over what belongs on the label. (GMOs? Trans fats? Claims that bran prevents heart disease?) We asked four big thinkers for their dream food label.
Pesticides carry warning labels that spell out health risks and how workers should protect themselves — but those labels are usually in English. More than 80 percent of the workers in the “salad bowls” of Salinas, California, or Yuma, Arizona, are Hispanic. Many have difficulty communicating in English.
Farmers give antibiotics routinely to pigs, beef cattle and poultry. They say the drugs help keep animals healthy and get them to market faster. Others say this practice practically guarantees that bacteria will develop resistance to these antibiotics more quickly, endangering human lives and the long-term viability of the drugs.
French dining is world famous, but it has a dirty little secret: Many restaurants rely on microwavable, premade meals. A bill that’s already cleared one big hurdle in the French National Assembly would force restaurants to label when their food is made in-house from scratch – and penalize those who lie about it.
In 2011, California listed 4-MEI, the chemical that Coke and Pepsi used to obtain caramel coloring for their colas, as a carcinogen. Both sodas have been reformulated for sale in the state — but tests show 4-MEI is still common in Pepsi colas sold elsewhere.
Promises from big food companies to switch to “cage-free” eggs have set off a supply chain reaction among egg producers. Some producers are adding more cage-free houses to their operations. But scientists are still trying to measure whether cage-free chickens are really better off.
What can you tell from those numbers on fruit and vegetable stickers? The price look-up (PLU) code system used by most produce distributors has the side benefit of allowing consumers to identify conventional and organic produce at the grocery store.
Should California require labeling of genetically modified foods? That’s the goal of Proposition 37 on the November state ballot. Supporters say GMO labeling will provide California consumers with valuable information, while detractors claim it will simply add unnecessary confusion and cost to the food system.