Thanksgiving Horror Stories: Pig Abuse, Dead Presidentially Pardoned Turkeys

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Matt Compton/WhiteHouse.gov
Turkey gets pardoned. Sentenced to death anyway.
Today, NBC ran a story about pig abuse at an Oklahoma farm that supplied animals to Tyson Foods. An undercover video shot by Mercy for Animals in September or October of this year shows workers "kicking, hitting, and throwing pigs and slamming piglets into the ground." The video, a public relations nightmare for Tyson, prompted the food giant to terminate its contract with the farm and take possession of the remaining animals. Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods said, "We're extremely disappointed by the mistreatment shown in the video and will not tolerate this kind of animal mishandling."

So, does this story have a happy ending? Of course not! This isn't the only time Tyson's farms were caught in the act of animal abuse.

See also: Where to Buy Local, Free-Range Turkeys


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Pumpkin Spice M&M's Don't Even Taste Like Pumpkin

Categories: Buyer Beware

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Photos by Jess Swanson
Pumpkin-patch-colored M&M's: look good, taste weird.
Pumpkin spice fever is like syphilis. It's contracted easily, spreads quickly, and symptoms include a zombie-like stampede for the antidote: anything containing the rotund orange fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit) and that blend of cinnamon-y spices.

See also: Pumpkin Spice, The Movie? "White People Are Going to Love It" (VIDEO)

Big-shot companies have exploited this phenomenon every autumn for the past decade. From Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte to Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale, it's no corporate trade secret that people will shell over bundles of their hard-earned cash to get their pumpkin fix.

It was no surprise when Mars Company released its Pumpkin Spice M&M's at Targets nationwide this fall, and we were just as ecstatic to try them as the next guy. That is, until we took off our pumpkin-tinted glasses long enough to realize we were being ripped off: Pumpkin Spice M&M's don't even taste like pumpkin spice (or whatever pumpkin spice is supposed to taste like), don't contain any pumpkin or cinnamon in their ingredients, and are being packaged in bags three ounces smaller than plain but priced the same.

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Royal Palm Beach Taco Bell Hit by Counterfeit Crooks

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Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office
Palm Beach County Police are asking the public to help identify two men who allegedly passed counterfeit bills at a Taco Bell restaurant in Royal Palm Beach.

Police have released video surveillance from the Taco Bell located at 10115 Southern Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach that appears to show at least one of two black males handing fake money to a clerk. Police say that these men have passed fake bills at this particular restaurant on several occasions.

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Frankenfish Salmon Swims Closer to Your Plate

Categories: Buyer Beware

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Image courtesy FastCompany
A genetically modified salmon, ominously dubbed the Frankenfish, recently took another step from the farm to your plate.

The Food and Drug Administration last week released an environmental report on the impact of the AquaAdvantage salmon, developed and patented (yes, patented) by Massachussets-based AquaBounty Technologies. The FDA concluded the salmon "will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States," according to USA Today.


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Voluntary Recall of Fast-Food Sliced Apples

Categories: Buyer Beware
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Ready Pac apples have been recalled.
The company that supplies fresh apple slices to many fast-food outlets, including Burger King and McDonald's, has voluntarily recalled several products after finding traces of Listeria monocytogenes on equipment at the Missa Bay LLC processing plant.

Missa Bay's parent company, Ready Pac, has issued a recall of 293,488 cases and 296,224 individually distributed units of fruit, vegetable, and sandwich products containing apples with "use by" dates of July 8 through August 20.

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That "Grouper" Is Really Mackerel: Seafood Fraud Rampant in Florida

Categories: Buyer Beware
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blueocean.org

Is that grouper you have there on your plate or pangasius -- a mild-flavored white-flesh fish farmed in Asia? The next time you're out to dine in South Florida, it may be a question you should ask yourself.

According to a new report released by Oceana, an international advocacy group for protecting the world's oceans, up to 31 percent of all seafood sold in Broward and Palm Beach counties is mislabeled. In other words, it's not what you're paying for -- it's seafood fraud.
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Florida Republican Socialists Piss Off Los Angeles Over Food Stamps

Categories: Buyer Beware
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Florida Sen. Ronda Storms is causing an uproar all the way to L.A. -- as seen in today's Los Angeles Times -- with her proposal to forbid Florida food stamp recipients from using the program money to buy junk food.

Storms' bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elderly Affairs, a result of concern over the health of poor children in particular, she claims. That, and it's just not fair: "If we're going to be cutting services across the board," she said, "then people can live without potato chips, without store-bought cookies, without their sodas."

And yet. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost 1 million individuals who are eligible for SNAP in Florida have not applied for assistance, which translates to $417.3 million in funding for food assistance that goes unused.

When a fellow legislator pointed out that if passed, Storms' legislation would prohibit a mother from buying her kid a birthday cake with food stamps, she said, "They can have cake. You can buy flour, eggs, and sugar, and that makes a cake. I make my kids their own cakes."

The L.A. Times rails against this "socialistic" legislation in today's editorial.

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Raw vs. Cooked Seafood: A Debate Better Had Before This Happens

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Are one of these the culprit?


Last week, I bought one bad clam, along with approximately a hundred of its siblings, from a perfectly respectable (and totally blameless) fish monger. The clam sojourned briefly in my refrigerator and then spent an hour or so atop my stove, in the company of tomatoes, coconut milk, chiles, and cilantro. The clam and its siblings were then laid across a bed of thin rice noodles and gobbled up by me, my partner, and two dinner guests.

I'd never cooked clams before, and hadn't intended to. Last Saturday, one of my dinner guests said he and his partner rather liked seafood, and I set about planning a dinner of maki rolls and unagi-don. Then, on Monday, the day before our date, this guest mentioned: "Oh, by the way -- we love seafood, but not sushi."

So much for maki. As we ate our clams Tuesday evening, I asked my guest why he and his partner didn't like sushi, and his response struck me as incredibly retrograde. "Well, it's raw," he said, giving me a look that suggested the wrongness of rawness ought to be self-evident.

"And?" I inquired, around a mouthful of poison.

"That's just not safe!" he said. I didn't argue with him then. But now, as I venture gingerly

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Fat, Sodium, Calories: Ten Dense Dishes

Categories: Buyer Beware

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weheartit.com
Does your favorite food want you to die?
You see them on TV, you drive past them on the way home -- chain restaurants that offer food, fun, and convenience.

We know it's difficult to ignore their siren songs of cheap food and menus that weigh more than a toddler.

To make your food more appealing and tasty, many chain restaurants pump your food with high levels of sodium and fat. Most meals at these restaurants contain the daily limits of an adult's intake of sodium and fat, and some meals contain several days' allowance. The result is that many adults are eating their way to obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.


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Americans Want Safer Food, Often (Literally) Eating Crap

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Mike Licht (NotionsCapital.com) via Creative Commons
Nothing is safe, nothing is sacred.


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