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Roasting coffee is more art than science. Under-roast the bean, and the chemical reactions necessary to produce its characteristic flavor and color do not occur at an adequate level; over-roast the bean, and the resulting brew is bitter. But, coffee producers and their customers are interested in consistency. Here, the tools of analytical chemistry come in handy. A group of primarily German...

Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal cramps. It is estimated to cause one million foodborne illnesses in the United States every year, causing 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bacteriophages, natural bacteria predators, may come to the rescue.

Research presented at the international American Meat Science Association’s conference in Texas showed that treating meat products infected with four types of salmonella using Myoviridae bacteriophages during mixing led to the bacteriophages invading the cells of the bacteria and destroying them. Even more good news is that bacteriophages are commonly found in our environment, so there is no reason to object to old science...

bananas Bananas give you AIDS? Photo credit: Deviant Art.

There sure are a lot of toxicology "experts" out there on the web, and they sure don't like anything that is sweet (except maybe when they sell it). I recently wrote about sucralose (Splenda), which is trashed by these "Internut" know-nothings despite the fact that its safety profile is about as good as you'll ever see.

But, they are even more verbal about aspartame. The more verbal they are, the more they get it wrong.

But it would be hard to get it any more...

oops Even Chemists Can Be Wrong. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Medicinal chemists — organic chemists who study drugs — frequently develop an ability that is sometimes informally called "eyeball toxicology," or the ability to determine a rough idea of the toxicity of a substance just by seeing its chemical structure on paper. It is a form of intuition. The longer you do the job, the better you get at it.

It would be reasonable to call this skill a "highly educated guess," which is acquired through years of studying the relationship between the structures of a variety of chemicals and their toxicity....

Dill Mayor Bill de Blasio. Salt hater. Possible anti-mustite?

Like we don't have enough problems in New York City? It costs three grand to rent a barely-decent apartment. And for $2.75 you get two mass transit choices: The subway, where you may or may not get vomited on, or the crosstown bus, which averages 3.5 mph — roughly the speed of a bulldozer being pulled by an arthritic poodle.

We have something called the Cross Bronx Expressway, which is a hybrid of a Mad Max movie and the parking lot at Home Depot on a Saturday afternoon. And, to get to it, you have the privilege of waiting up to two...

Taxman Photo credit:

The comments that follow Mark Bittman's New York Times editorial in which he supports Philadelphia's proposed "added" sugar tax (1) mostly fall into two categories.

Some readers rank the sugar tax right up there with one of the greatest public health innovations since Pasteurization. Others bemoan how a tax on sugar is regressive, and unfair to the poor.

I'll leave that discussion to politicians and economists, but I can say with absolute...

shutterstock_337906790Memorial Day weekend is a time, first and foremost, to remember and honor our country's fallen military heroes.

It is, unofficially, a time to get outside, celebrate that summer is coming, and fire up the grill.

Before you start marinating the meat though, a new study warns of a hidden danger associated with grilling - the wire-bristle brushes used to clean them. When bristles get loose on these brushes, they can fall out, stick to the grill, be transferred to food and ingested.

How common is this?...

The language of science has been hijacked. Those who are looking to make a quick buck (or in the case of the organic industry, 43 billion bucks) have no qualms about twisting the definition of highly precise scientific terminology to suit their own profit-driven agendas. Misinterpreting scientists’ words is also a common tactic employed by fearmongering environmentalists and activists.

In fact, the problem of hijacked scientific terminology is so great that ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom wrote an entire book about it.

organicfood Photo credit:

What do toenail clippers, submarine hulls and waffle irons have in common?

None are organic.


If this sounds stupid  (if?), check this out:OrgPopTartsNo,  I'm not making it up. Three foods, which don't exactly represent the epitome of health and wellbeing — "Pop Tarts," Oreos, and Kraft Mac and Cheese — are now organic. It's not that any of these tasty delights, when eaten...

Cow_female_black_whiteWhat have you eaten, lately?

Technological advances have made it rather easy to detect food fraud. The seafood industry, in particular, is rife with dishonesty. In 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that 93 percent of fish samples labeled "red snapper" were actually some other species, like tilapia. And more than half of what you think is tuna...