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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SF-Marin Food Bank's Hunger Challenge Now Open to the Public

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

$4.50. That's your daily food budget when you're living on the government's SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps. It is an alarmingly small amount of money to keep yourself well-fed and alert, as I learned last year when I participated in the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank's annual Hunger Challenge, a simulation of the kind of lack that people living with food insecurity do every year.

You can sign up to do the same during the 2014 Hunger Challenge, which takes place Sept. 8-12.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Monsanto Protection Act: What All The Fuss Is About

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM


By now, if you're involved in the food industry in any way you've probably heard of the rider sneaked into the House spending bill that's being called the "Monsanto Protection Act" by outraged parties. It's part of a bill that Obama signed last week (and basically had to sign to keep the government from shutting down), but seemingly no one knew about this unrelated piece of legislation that basically invalidates any court ruling that would otherwise prevent GMO crops from being planted or sold -- even if there's evidence that they're harmful.

It's complicated, but there are a few resources to help you parse the situation. Mark Bittman's Times op-ed this week, "Why Do G.M.O.'s Need Protection?", breaks down the implications neatly. Former Examiner food critic Jesse Hirsch wrote a timeline in the new publication Modern Farmer. And on Wednesday night, Jon Stewart took on the issue in one of those brilliant rants only he can muster. Watch the video after the jump.

See also: Whole Foods Announces It Will Require GMO Labeling by 2018

GMO Labeling: Looking to the Future Post-Prop. 37

New Study Shows Voter Support for Genetically Modified Food Labeling in California

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Girl Scout Cookies Aren't Even That Good, You Guys

Posted By on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 7:30 AM


I'm not going to pretend otherwise: Last week when a package arrived full of Girl Scout cookies, I squealed like a schoolgirl, then immediately bragged about my good fortune on various social networks. I wasn't the only one with an outsize reaction: Within 10 minutes, SF Weekly staffers had savagely torn into the boxes in a desperate bid to try every flavor, leaving a trail of cookie crumbs in their wake. For the next two days, I had the most popular desk in the newsroom -- no one walking past could resist snagging one or two, often five or six.

And yet after nibbling on several dozen, I realized an uncomfortable truth: Girl Scout cookies aren't actually that good. Certainly no better than the cookies you find in the supermarket. What causes this halo effect that leads otherwise reasonable adults to act like greedy children in the face of those brightly colored boxes?

See also: Bobby Flay Would Like You to Know That He's Not the Screaming Type

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Millennial Restaurant Habits Are Pretty Much What You'd Expect

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM


Millennials are a hot topic these days -- they're either the worst or the best, depending on who you ask -- and the much-coveted 18-34 demographic's eating habits have been the examination of many think pieces as of late. Culintro has an interesting interview with Anne E. McBride, the director of something called the "Experimental Cuisine Collective" at New York University, on what today's young adults look for when they're eating out.

See also: Taste-Testing Campbell's New Hipster Soups

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Monday, January 28, 2013

List of Restaurants Implicated in Health Insurance Fraud Crackdown Released

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Squat & Gobble is one of the implicated restaurants. - FLICKR/DIRK.DEKOK

On Friday, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent letters to several dozen businesses under investigation for consumer fraud for pocketing surcharge funds meant to go toward employee health insurance. Yesterday the Chronicle released the list of the businesses who received letters from Herrera, including S.F. restaurant scene heavy-hitters as the Mina Group, Prospect, and Wayfare Tavern. However, it should be noted that a business' placement on the list does not necessarily mean that it is guilty of nefarious deeds -- many of the restaurants could be there from reporting error or other discrepancy. Most of the businesses paid some funds to employee health insurance; of the nearly 100 businesses on the list, only Squat & Gobble paid no money toward employee health insurance (though it did collect more than $160,000 from its customers).

See also: City Attorney Cracks Down on Restaurant Health Insurance Fraud

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Friday, January 25, 2013

City Attorney Cracks Down on Restaurant Health Insurance Fraud

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 5:00 PM


If you've ever wondered whether the healthcare surcharge on your restaurant bill is actually going toward health insurance for the restaurant's employees, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the vast majority of S.F. restaurants are in compliance. The bad news is that a handful of them have been pocketing the money instead of putting it toward health insurance -- though San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is getting tough on the offenders.

Today Herrera sent a letter to several dozen restaurants under investigation for consumer fraud, outlining the steps they must take by April 10 to come into legal compliance and avoid civil litigation.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Grand Opening, Grand Closing: Bay Area Makes and Breaks Restaurants in Mere Months

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Shanghai Restaurant lasted just four months. - ELIZABETH TICHENOR PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Elizabeth Tichenor Photography
  • Shanghai Restaurant lasted just four months.

Four months ago, we wrote about a brand new restaurant called Shanghai and how it was attempting to break the curse of a space that had previously been home to a five-month restaurant called Gingerfruit and a three-month restaurant with the most-appetizing name of Pudong. The chef came from the recently-closed Shanghai 1930 restaurant and brought a fair standard of fine Chinese cooking with him. Prices were high, but not outrageous compared to other restaurants within blocks of it on Market Street in the Castro.

This week, Inside Scoop SF reports that Shanghai has closed after four months.

See Also:

- Shanghai Tries to Break a Restaurant Curse

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yelp Gets Even More Powerful by Posting S.F. Restaurant Health Ratings

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM

  • Yelp

The Internets are abuzz this morning with news that Mayor Ed Lee announced today at the National Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.: The S.F. Department of Health is teaming up with Yelp to post restaurant health scores on the ratings website. Currently ratings appear on a select number of restaurants with more to roll out in the coming days, and New York and Philadelphia to follow in the coming weeks. As health inspection details become more integrated into the site, they could potentially have a dramatic effect on consumer behavior. Would you go to your favorite dive if its not-so-stellar inspection details were in your face?

See also: GE Salmon is Close to Being Approved: Let the FDA Know Your Thoughts

New Study Shows Voter Support for Genetically Modified Food Labeling in California

California's Got a Brand-New Cottage Food Law

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Friday, January 11, 2013

GE Salmon is Close to Being Approved: Let the FDA Know Your Thoughts

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM

GE or conventional? It may become increasingly harder to know. - FLICKR/BOCADORADA

Over the holidays, the U.S. Food and Drink Administration took one step closer to approving genetically engineered salmon for public sale. The agency released a report saying that the fish wasn't likely to pose a threat to the environment or to the people who eat it. These GE salmon, called AquAdvantage, contain a growth hormone from Chinook salmon as well as a genetic switch from pout, an eel-like creature, that keeps the growth hormone "on" all the time -- meaning that the salmon could come to maturity in 18 months instead of three years. If approved, this would be the first food from a transgenic animal (one whose genome has been altered) available for public consumption.

See also:

- New Study Shows Voter Support for Genetically Modified Food Labeling in California

- GMO Labeling: Looking to the Future Post-Prop. 37

- Washington State Could Be First in Country to Pass GMO Labeling

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Study Shows Voter Support for Genetically Modified Food Labeling in California

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 11:35 AM

A new study has just come out that shows that 67% of voters continue to support the labeling of genetically modified foods, despite the defeat of Prop. 37 in last November's election. The controversial Prop. 37, which would have required a label on any genetically modified food sold in California, was narrowly defeated at the polls by three percent-- a loss many on the Yes side chalked up to the $35 million spent in negative advertising put up by big companies like Monsanto and Coca-Cola. Surprisingly, this new study finds that 21% of all November 2012 California voters who voted against the proposition report they support required labeling of genetically modified foods.

See also:

- Three Things I Learned When I Started Researching Proposition 37

- GMO Labeling: Looking to the Future Post-Prop. 37

- Washington State Could Be First in Country to Pass GMO Labeling

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