Duck Inspectors, Mercury-Infused Corn Syrup, and Other Food News

Oh, the news. It never stops being new:

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Sarah DiGregorio at the Village Voice drives up to Hudson Valley Foie Gras, one of the nation's two foie gras producers, to inspect the ducks, the pens, and the carcasses for signs of torture. She finds none. Animal-rights activists tell her they're hiding the animals in pain from her. Not sure this is conclusive proof that you can eat your duck liver guilt free, but it's fascinating to see all the steps that the producer has taken to respond to humane-farming concerns. (Example: the automatic chest rubber to relax the ducks before they're stunned and killed.)

Articles in surprising places: The LA Times reviews Corson Building and Spinasse. The Guardian UK writes up the Obamas' first big dinner party.

Oh, dear. What is up with the FDA? Tom Philpott at Grist catches the agency refusing to address the problem of mercury in high-fructose corn syrup, essentially telling its staff, "Don't test, don't tell."

Sustainability activists, who were furious at Obama's choice of Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture (calling him a Big Ag toady), are thrilled about his new number two: Kathleen Merrigan, who was instrumental in drafting the USDA organic certification standards in 1990.

Christy Harrison at Gourmet defines the 20 tools that have changed the way Americans cook. I'm not quite sure why microplane graters and three types of grilling apparatuses beat out rice cookers, convection ovens, or Crock Pots. Perhaps New Yorkers love covering acres of barbecued ribs with lemon zest.

 
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