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‘F*ck You Pizza’ is the logical endpoint of current junk food trends

Humanity has apparently given up on inventing new forms of junk food, and is instead nesting existing forms inside one another like some kind of hideous fast food Turducken. I was on vacation when the mini-cheeseburger crust pizza happened, so I was blissfully spared awareness of that until today, but I did not miss the hot dog stuffed pizza or the Double Down or the "everything KFC makes layered into in a sort of nightmare lasagna" ... thing. This trend was always bound to end in greasy, greasy tears, and thanks to this video, we know that those tears will fall upon cinnamon buns topped with mashed potatoes, gravy, cheeseburgers, and taco shells.

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Scientists use glow-in-the-dark fish to track hormone-disrupting chemicals

Photo by University of Exeter.

Imagine if your body could tell you where and when a certain chemical is impacting your health. Scientists at the University of Exeter have done just that -- with green-glowing zebrafish, that is.

Researchers genetically engineered young zebrafish to produce a fluorescent glow in the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A. By exposing fish to endocrine disruptors and observing when individual body parts light up, researchers can learn exactly how and at what concentrations these chemicals impact various organs and tissues. They can then make certain inferences on how endocrine disruptors impact human health.

For instance, observing the glowing fish confirmed previous findings, such as a link between bisphenol A and heart problems.

"We do see in this fish that the heart glows particularly in response to bisphenol A," Charles Tyler, the study's leader, said. "So we can target the heart and try to look at the mechanics of what is happening."

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Paper asks: Does high-fructose corn syrup contribute to a rise in autism?

Photo by Robert Bradley.

I know what you’re thinking: “Tom, it’s been ages since you wrote about high-fructose corn syrup.” And you’re right! It has. But as I’m feeling petulantly defiant, I think it’s time to take another look at America’s favorite sweetener. You see, while the HFCS industry still claims there’s no difference between how the body handles HFCS and sugar, a new study has come out suggesting just the opposite. And in a very big way.

The blaring headline version of the new study’s conclusion would read: “High-Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Autism.”

And while that may be a bit of an overstatement, it’s not off by much. In a provocative new peer-reviewed study published in Clinical Epigenetics, researchers led by a former FDA toxicologist purport to have found a very real link between HFCS consumption and autism.

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Maryland blazes the trail to get arsenic out of chicken feed

If you saw "Arsenic in Our Chicken?," Nick Kristof’s much-read New York Times column from earlier this month, you’ve heard about the widespread use of some unexpected additives in chicken farming.

Studies released this year detected caffeine, acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), fluoxetine (the active ingredient in Prozac), various antibiotics, arsenic, and more in feather meal, a substance made from ground poultry feathers and used in animal feed. The findings were the results of studies by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Arizona State University.

“I grew up on a farm, and I thought I knew what to expect in my food. But Benadryl? Arsenic?” Kristof wrote. The studies, he added, “raise serious questions about the food we eat and how we should shop.”

Where arsenic is concerned, his alarm is not unfounded. For decades, chicken producers have used arsenic as a way to boost the birds’ growth and cut down on production costs. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested 100 chickens that had been raised on a popular arsenic-based additive called Roxarsone, and found that half the chickens had inorganic arsenic in their livers -- a known carcinogen that can cause cancer even at the low levels found naturally in our environment.

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What’s inside a school lunch burger? 26 ingredients, and only one is meat

What will you see when NPR's Tiny Desk Kitchen takes you inside a school lunch burger patty? Some pretty startling colors -- blue copper gluconate, red cyanocobalamin -- and some 10-dollar names like thiamine mononitrate and pyridoxine hydrochloride.

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Oh my god, hot-dog-stuffed-crust pizza, humans are no longer authorized to make food

Although my job obviously requires me to intermittently make fun of McDonald's, in my real life I actually try not to be elitist and judgmental about the food people choose to eat. However, I think this may have crossed my line. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ALL OF YOU WHY IS YOUR PIZZA CRUST HOT DOGS WHY IS YOUR SANDWICH BREAD FRIED CHICKEN WHY CAN'T YOU BE SATISFIED TO EAT ONE FOOD AT A TIME

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FDA to GMO labeling campaign: What million signatures?

It hasn’t been a good week for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- if you care about public health. If, however, you think corporate interests and politics should trump science, well, then it’s been one red-letter day after another.

First, the FDA announced its refusal to ban the common endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Then, on an unrelated note, The New York Times published a lengthy analysis of the repeated interference by the Obama White House in the FDA’s decision-making process. (The White House meddled in calorie-labeling on movie popcorn, warning labels on low-SPF sunscreen, and an ozone-deplete chemical in certain asthma inhalers.) It’s a distressing pattern of political involvement in science that Obama inherited from the Bush administration.

But it gets worse. Or better if you’re Monsanto. The deadline for the FDA to respond to the Just Label It petition for genetically modified food labeling arrived last week. And, as required by law, the agency responded. Sort of. It supplied a letter to the group behind the petition that said, essentially, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

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Industrial poultry about to get even crappier — literally

A still from a video about USDA poultry plant inspection (which might soon be a thing of the past). Click to watch.

One of the most quoted lines from Eric Schlosser’s now famous book, Fast Food Nation, comes from the chapter about pathogens in ground beef. Without mincing words, he wrote: “There is shit in the meat.”

Well, that phrase may be relevant again if the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) moves forward with plans to privatize part of its meat and poultry inspection program.

Under the current rules, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for inspecting all chicken and turkey carcasses for things like bruises, bile, and yes, shit, before they’re sent for further processing. The proposed HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) would remove those USDA inspectors from the lines, leaving poultry plant employees, who already stand in a fast-moving, I-Love-Lucy-style line, to flag unsanitary or otherwise flawed birds.

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Why you should be glad there are bugs in your Frappuccino

Okay, yes, everybody -- especially vegans, corporation-haters, and bloggers who like writing about gross things you just put in your mouth -- got a little excited over the news that Starbucks' Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino derives its red color from crushed bugs. But here's what you didn't know: That's actually a good thing.

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Starbucks strawberry Frappuccino dyed with crushed insects

Photo by Ben Adams.

Here's a Starbucks order to try out: a Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino with soy milk and a shot of crushed parasitic insects.

Actually, you don't need to order the bugs -- they come standard with the drink, in the form of the red dye used to give the frap that special strawberry color.

Yes, the insects are crushed, and yes, they are a commonly used natural food dye. Enjoyed a strawberry PopTart lately? Yeah, those use crushed critters for coloring, too.

So you may have already eaten your peck of bugs, and besides, insects are nutritious. Still, there's obviously a bit of an "ew" factor here. It's one thing to eat bugs knowingly, but when a gigantic corporation sticks them into a sugar bomb without asking, I think one is entitled to feel at least as miffed as when one's parents snuck broccoli into a perfectly good Kraft macaroni-and-cheese dinner. There are some health impacts, too, for the factory workers who produce the dye.

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