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5@5: Scientists desert USDA | New York farm labor bill gives farmworkers 'historic' rights

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

Scientists desert USDA as agency relocates to Kansas City Area

Two crucial research agencies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are reportedly “hemorrhaging” staff after U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that these agencies will soon be relocated to the Kansas City area. The Union of Concerned Scientists decried the move as a “blatant attack on science” that will harm farmers, ranchers and consumers alike. Read more at NPR …

New York gives farmworkers historic rights to overtime, days off, benefits

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed a farm labor bill that gives farmworkers in the state the right to unionize, collect overtime pay and take a minimum of one day off per week. Farmers, the agriculture industry and Senate Republicans notably opposed the changes, citing their presumably negative impact on “the largest industry in Upstate New York." Read more at Syracuse.com …

Nestle invents new way to make chocolate—with no added sugar

Nestle is using a patented technique that turns the once-wasted white pulp covering cocoa beans into a natural sugar that it will use to sweeten some of its chocolate products. The company is debuting a 70% dark chocolate KitKat bar with no added sugar in Japan this fall and is looking to expand the ingredient to reach more countries within the next year. Read more at Bloomberg …

Would you drink pea gin if it helped solve climate change?

According to scientists, switching from using wheat starch to using pea starch as the base for alcoholic beverages could have huge environmental benefits. Researchers calculated that implementing peas or legumes such as beans, which wouldn’t affect the taste of such products, could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 439 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Read more at Fast Company …

Beyond Meat can’t save Blue Apron

After the announcement that Blue Apron Holdings would be adding recipes to its meal-kit subscription boxes that feature Beyond Meat products, investors “sent shares of the meal-kit company up more than 40% on the news.” This move won’t help Blue Apron learn how to get its best customers to spend more money with it, however, which is a big part of new CEO Linda Kozlowski’s game plan for the company. Read more at The Washington Post …

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