• After recently banning chicken nuggets and soda, the city of Los Angeles became the first major school district to ban the sale of flavored milk to students. Flavored milks are notoriously high in added sugars (much of it is high fructose corn syrup) and other additives, like food dyes. While I  think this is an encouraging forward step in school lunch reform and preventing obesity, I worry that a) kids who drink flavored milk because they don’t like regular milk will be losing a major source of calcium in their diet and b) this could hurt schools that depend on funding that comes from the sales of popular food items, like flavored milk. [NPR]
  • The House passed the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill yesterday, which makes huge cuts across the board. Of course, food subsidies were left alone despite Democrat objections, securing the domination of corn and soy crops in our food system yet again. Particularly important are the proposed cuts to the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) nutrition program and food safety programs, two programs which desperately need more funding currently. The bill also proposes re-writing school lunch standards, which had been slated for a 6 cent increase as the result of a bill passed in December. Let’s see what the Senate does with it. [NPR]
  • The Environmental Working Group released a list of the “Dirty Dozen” – common foods shown to retain a high amount of pesticide residue. Apples, celery, and strawberries top the list. The best defense is to purchase organic versions of the foods on the risky list or, if buying conventionally grown produce, wash everything thoroughly before consuming. The group also released a “Clean 15” list of foods lowest in pesticide residue. Use common sense – most of the foods deemed less risky are ones you peel before eating. [EWG]
  • You’ve probably heard of the iPhone apps that allow you to take a picture of your meal and calculate the number of calories in it (an estimate, at least) which operate through a combination of complicated algorithms, a large database of foods, and apparently, people. Said people are paid 2-5 cents per picture identified in apps like MealSnap and Foodish. [WSJ]
  • Rumor has it that Ben & Jerry’s will be releasing a new ice cream flavor, “Schweddy Balls,” inspired by a classic SNL skit with Alec Baldwin, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon. If you aren’t familiar with the skit, go watch. I’m not sure that’s a flavor I want to eat…[Gothamist]
  • Sweet bakery, home of my favorite cupcakes in Boston, opens its fourth location today at 11 School Street (Downtown Crossing) in Boston. Right near my office – this could be dangerous! [Sweet]

Happy Friday!

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