Our weekly serving of off-the-menu items—a few popular favorites from the week, as well as a few morsels that may have slipped your notice.
After a year filled with widely publicized food safety scares—from the romaine recall to the two hundred million eggs that were pulled from shelves—consumers and food producers alike are on the hunt for a better way to ensure that our food isn’t contaminated. Bay Area startup Clear Labs thinks that the answer might lie in DNA. Clear Labs has developed a DNA sequencing platform that would allow food-processing facilities to test samples of their products, and compare the results with Clear Labs molecular database, searching for irregularities like salmonella or other pathogens.
AgTech startup Farmee and crop consulting firm Delphy recently collaborated to launch Farmee Experts, a website that makes it easier for farmers to access professional advice from agricultural consultants. Farmers simply have to post a question about their plants on the site, and within 24 hours they will receive a response. Farmee Experts also protects farmers’ privacy by ensuring that only they can read their questions.
Although traditional chef’s clothing is intended to be unisex, chef’s whites are large, bulky and originally designed for men. Women in the kitchen are pushing for more inclusive uniforms, and breaking the standards of “typical” kitchen attire. Companies like Hedley & Bennett and Tilit are intended for all body shapes and sizes, emphasizes comfort and style over tradition.
Designed with the intention of opening up a new perspective on industrial chicken farming, artist Daniel Szalai has photographed a series of chicken portraits, highlighting the individuality of each bird. The aviary portraits are paired with images of the production facility that processes the chickens’ eggs, emphasizing the contrast between technology and nature.
A farmer in American Samoa, going only by the name “Candyman,” has made it his mission to collect as many varieties of bananas as possible. A survey of American Samoa conducted in the early 1900s records 35 different strains of bananas, and although Candyman has only found 22 so far, he hopes to encounter all 35. His favorite banana is a variety of Soa’a, a small orange banana with extremely high levels of nutrients.