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  • A piece in this week's Nature magazine recommends that sugar be regulated like tobacco or alcohol. The authors argue that sugar has addictive and toxic qualities, and long-term consumption leads to many metabolic conditions. They suggest taxing any foodstuffs with added sugar, including beverages and cereals. They also consider the possibility of putting age limits on the purchase of sugar-sweetened items; changing zoning code to limit the number of fast food restaurants and convenience stores in low-income neighborhoods; and eliminating the use of WIC or EBT for purchasing foodstuffs with added sugar.
  • For small-scale growers, ranchers, and business owners, access to government-inspected cooking and processing facilities can be very sparse. Communities are responding to this lack of resources by creating adaptable processing units such as the Mad River Food Hub in northeastern Vermont. The facility contains storage units, flash freezers, stoves and ovens, and butchering tables. Individuals can rent space and services as needed. The Food Hub is certified by the state of Vermont, and is waiting on USDA certification.
  • The Obama administration appointed food systems advocate Deborah Kane as its new "Farm-to-School" director. Kane will work with several government food organizations as well as with the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. She will oversee a new farm to school grant, and look at new ways to connect schools with local food. Kane has experience collaborating with farmers and retailers to encourage local food consumption in the Northwest.
  • Remember the Food Safety Modernization Act? It's now a year old, and Food Safety News sat down to talk to Michael Taylor, the deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, to discuss its implementation and impact. He shares his thoughts on the recent cantaloupe salmonella outbreak, antibiotics in meat production, and contaminated juice. Here's Part One of the interview, and here's Part Two.
  • Ongoing severe drought in Texas has resulted in a large algae bloom along the state's coastline. The toxin from the red algae has killed millions of fish and has devastated the oyster population. Eating oysters that have absorbed the toxin can cause nausea and dizziness, so restaurants and purveyors are abandoning the local oyster industry for imported product. Oyster fishermen are lamenting the dire circumstances and loss of business.

About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.

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