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Food & the Law

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fast Food

Fast Food Is Costing Taxpayers Billions

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Low-wage protest outside McDonald's in New York in July 2013 - ANNETTE BERNHARDT VIA FLICKR
  • Annette Bernhardt via Flickr
  • Low-wage protest outside McDonald's in New York in July 2013
Two new studies find that the low wages paid to fast food workers are costing U.S. taxpayers billions annually in public assistance. It's an interesting addition to the debate over the minimum wage, and yet another blow to the idea that government subsidies are mainly paid out to people who are lazy or refuse to work.

The first study, from the University of California, found that:

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Cantaloupe - FLICKR/BETH
  • Flickr/Beth
  • Cantaloupe
If you make people sick because you sell dirty food, the government would like you to know it is no longer playing.

On Thursday, U.S marshals acting on behalf of the U.S. Attorney's Office with the Food and Drug Administration arrested two brothers who owned and operated a Colorado cantaloupe farm directly linked to a 2011 listeria outbreak that killed 33 people and sickened 147 in 28 states, including four in California. It was the deadliest listeria outbreak in almost 90 years.

Eric and Ryan Jensen of the now-bankrupt Jensen Farms were each charged with six misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, according to USA Today. Court documents also state that the cantaloupe "was prepared, packed and held under conditions which rendered it injurious to health." The brothers, who appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver and were released on a $100,000 bond, each face up to six years in prison and up to $1.5 million in fines. Their trial is set for December 2.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Roy Choi at MAD3 symposium - VIMEO SCREENSHOT
  • Vimeo Screenshot
  • Roy Choi at MAD3 symposium
In recent days, people have been talking and writing about Roy Choi's talk at MAD3, the food symposium that took place on Aug. 25 and 26 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Choi spoke passionately about hunger and, specifically, about the place chefs might have in the fight against hunger. "Chefs can do anything," Choi said. "When a chef speaks, people listen. When a chef does, people follow."

The message was clear: Now, having found ourselves in the position of celebrity, what are we going to do with it? Are we going to waste it or use it for good?

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Trader Joe's - E. DWASS
  • E. Dwass
  • Trader Joe's
There are no Trader Joe's stores in Canada, but there are, apparently, an awful lot of Canadians who love the unique grocery store's Mac & Cheese Bites and lemonade and pasta sauce so much so that they will cross the border just to shop at the nearest store location in Washington. Or, if you're Vancouver resident Michael Hallatt, you cross the border every week or so, spend a few thousand dollars on as many Trader Joe's products as you can pack in your van, then go back across the border and resell the booty at your own store that you've named Pirate Joe's.

Maybe unsurprisingly, Trader Joe's isn't too happy about Pirate Joe's and wants it to essentially walk the plank: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Trader Joe's recently filed a federal lawsuit against Hallatt, alleging, among other claims, trademark infringement; false advertising; deceptive business practices and unfair competition.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Food & the Law

Naked Juice Settles Suit Over 'All Natural' Claims

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Some Naked Juices - FACEBOOK/NAKED JUICE
A lawsuit has laid bare the real ingredients in Naked Juices.

Naked Juice Co. has agreed to pay $9 million to settle a class-action suit alleging that it falsely advertised some of its juice and smoothie products as "all natural" and non-genetically modified, according to the website Law360.com.

Under the deal, Glendora-based Naked Juice, owned by PepsiCo., continues to deny that its product labels were misleading or false but has agreed to shell out the money for a settlement fund and to redesign their labels to either eliminate or modify the questionable representations. It will no longer describe its juices as "all natural."

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Monday, July 1, 2013

As of today, shark fin soup and anything else made from shark fins are now banned in California.

Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law making it illegal to "possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute" any shark fin statewide, giving aficionados of the cruel soup plenty of time to adjust to the idea.

Many in the Asian community fought the ban, citing a centuries-old tradition of serving shark fin soup at weddings, banquets and other ceremonial events. The soup can fetch $100 or more a bowl. A San Francisco Chinatown group estimates the new law will cause revenue losses of about $40 million.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

FLICKR/PAYTON CHUNG
When it comes to proximity to good food, not all court locations are equal. If you're lucky (well, relatively so), you'll be assigned to Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on Temple Street the next time you receive a summons calling you to your civic duty. It's adjacent to the new-ish Grand Park that extends north to south from Grand Avenue to Spring Street, well-suited for a quick outdoor lunch for one. It's also within reasonable walking distance to Little Tokyo or Bunker Hill, home to some pretty exciting new restaurants.

You'll want to opt for the latter, because you might as well take advantage of your circumstances, turning lemons to, well, you know. Best to avoid the courthouse cafeteria altogether, which rated two and a half stars among Yelpers. To help you steer away from lukewarm lunches sanctioned by governmental agencies, we gathered four noteworthy spots with one eye on your watch and the other on your wallet. Turn the page.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beverages

California Takes Up Soda Tax Idea

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Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Coke - FLICKR/VWB5
California lawmakers are considering a bill this week that would tax sugary drinks to the tune of one cent per fluid ounce. That would add 12 cents to your typical can of Coke -- but not Diet Coke.

It would also affect the price of sweet tea, but not tea that you add sugar to yourself. Yes, this is making more and more sense.

The measure passed its first hurdle, clearing a tax committee on Wednesday, KTLA reports.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Food & the Law

Urasawa Cited for Labor Violations

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Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Sushi at Urasawa - G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder
  • Sushi at Urasawa
California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su has issued citations to restaurants across the state for violating various state labor laws. Urasawa, the famed sushi restaurant in Beverly Hills, was among those cited.

According to the Commissioner, the government's investigation found that Urasawa's kitchen staff often worked 10.5 hours a day without receiving overtime pay or proper rest and meal breaks. The restaurant also failed to issue wage statements itemizing the number of hours employees worked and their rate of pay, another violation of the California Labor Code.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One of the gardens Ron Finley has planted in South Central - SCREENSHOT FROM RON FINLEY'S TED TALK
  • Screenshot from Ron Finley's TED talk
  • One of the gardens Ron Finley has planted in South Central
Ron Finley is a gardener, but not in the puttering-in-the-backyard kind of way. Rather, the artist and designer refers to himself as a "guerrilla gardener," using the growing of food as a way to try to change the dynamics of his neighborhood: South Central L.A.

In a TED talk, given in Long Beach in February and just recently posted online, Finley talks about his neighborhood as a food desert and community devastated by food-related illnesses. "South Central: The home of the drive-by and the drive-thru," he says. "The drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

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