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By the end of 2023, gas stoves in New York City will be prohibited in new buildings under seven stories tall (skyscrapers have until 2027 to comply). At that point, new construction must use electric technologies such as induction stovetops and electric ovens instead of gas. Why? Because 13% of US greenhouse gases come from buildings powered by fossil fuels, and the percentage increases exponentially in dense cities like New York. I love cooking with gas, but I admit: It's terribly inefficient (about 40% efficient compared to 85% for electricity). Change is good, right? I just need to find a more climate-friendly way to toast my tortillas.
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Strawberry Pop-Tarts contain 2% or less of "dried strawberries, dried pears, dried apples" and "red 40.” Fed up with the deception, Anita Harris filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against Kellogg's. Harris claims the company is misleading consumers by promoting the strawberries in Pop-Tarts when, in reality, it's mostly other dried fruit and red food dye. I guess Kellogg's Pop-Tarts aren't so "crazy good" after all.
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Processed, packaged and prepared foods account for 70% of the sodium in the American diet, according to the Food and Drug Administration. To cut that amount by 12% over the next 2 years, the FDA issued new guidelines to food manufacturers across 163 categories, including everything from potato chips and deli meats to store-bought bakery items.
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About 42 million Americans will soon get an increase in their food stamp funds, officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Following a lengthy review, the USDA determined that current SNAP benefits are too low to pay for a healthy diet. On average, beneficiaries will receive an increase of about $36.24 per month beginning on October 1, and the change is permanent.
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Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are common refrigerants used in air conditioners and refrigerators. But scientists say these greenhouse gases are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, and supermarkets are releasing the lion's share of the planet-warming gases into the atmosphere. The nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) visited 45 food retailers around Washington DC in 2019, and found HFC refrigerant leaks in 60% of Walmart stores and 55% of all other stores. To achieve an 85% reduction in HFCs, the new Environmental Protection Agency rules phase out HFCs over the next 15 years. Many supermarket chains have already begun upgrading their dairy cases and freezer stalls to more sustainable refrigeration systems. Will the costs affect food prices? We shall see.
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The market for halloumi cheese has grown to $267 million, and cheap knockoffs have come along for the ride. But no more. The European Union has granted the salty, firm, grillable cheese Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Cheese labeled "halloumi" must now be made in Cyprus and consist of at least 50% sheep and goat milks. Everything else is an imposter, and the Cyprus government is currently fighting 80 court cases against them.
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A recent congressional report found dangerous levels of toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury in baby foods. In response, US lawmakers have introduced a bill to limit the heavy metals. The Baby Food Safety Act would set new maximum levels of inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in baby food. Manufacturers would be required to comply within one year, and levels would be lowered further within two years following Food and Drug Administration guidance. The bill also mandates that manufacturers test final products for toxic heavy metals and post test results online. While the FDA claims that children are not currently at risk, the report says the baby food industry "has been allowed to self-regulate baby food safety, and the results have been appalling and extremely harmful to our kids.” Let's hope the lawmakers and FDA come to a resolution. For the kids.