On the last Friday of each month, Food Manufacturing looks back at the most surprising or unusual food-related stories of the month. Here are our top picks for June:
- It's not often that a produce giant becomes embroiled in an international human rights complaint, but that's just what's being argued in a lawsuit given the nod to proceed on June 3. Chiquita Brands International paid $1.7 million to a foreign terrorist organization and is now being sued for damages related to "torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity."
- The FDA has announced that chicken meat may contain low levels of arsenic due to a specific arsenic-containing ingredient found in chicken feed. The National Chicken Council says "Chicken is safe to eat." The ingredient company is pulling the ingredient from the market, which is probably a good idea, since the FDA considers arsenic a "known carcinogen."
- Someone in the marketing department at Costa Rica's Demasa company is definitely not winning "Employee of the Month." The company was forced to recall bags of corn chips when 13 children were hospitalized after swallowing a lead ball contained in a "toy surprise" found in the bag. Perhaps future toys should avoid lead components.
- The Oreo contains many mysteries, according to an article in the Atlantic this month positing that Freemasons and Knights Templar symbolism might be contained within the cookie's unique embossing.
- Though his company went belly-up, Le-Nature's former CEO may have walked away with a fortune... almost. Gregory Podlucky is being charged with $806 million in bank fraud.
- Truth or fiction? A news item about a Japanese scientist converting human excrement into "meat" has made a big splash on the internet this month. But some doubt the veracity of the story. Let's hope this one is a fake.
- A family feud turned ugly this week when a hot dog purveyor took its founder's grandson and arch-weiner-rival to court alleging the grandson stole (or lied about stealing) the company's top-secret recipe.
- This just in: Potato chips are not good for you! According to a new study, potato chips encourage weight gain more than any other junk food. Scientists say that the trick is eating fewer potato chips. Easier said than done.
What crazy/funny/unexpected stories have you been following this month? Let me know at email@example.com.