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Fast Food Hit-Or-Miss

Pregnant Women Swear Eating Taco Bell Helps Induce Labor

As a sports fan, I know a thing or two about crazy superstitions, as I usually flip my Dodger hat inside out any time it looks like they’re going to score, or sit at the edge of my seat with my hands on my lap when I want Clayton Kershaw to get a strikeout.

The average person might think I’m crazy for thinking these actions will affect the outcome of the game, so I can relate to these women with the seemingly crazy belief that eating Taco Bell will help them go into labor.

There are a surprising number of pregnant women who swear that eating Taco Bell at the cusp of their labor, will help their baby come out sooner, according to Vice.

There seems to be a point where the woman is nine months into the pregnancy and the baby should be ready to come out, but hasn’t. At this point women are looking for any way to get this human out of their body, quickly.

Pregnant women have probably become familiar with the website, “What to Expect,” but what they might not have expected, is that there’s an entire forum dedicated to Taco Bell helping induce labor.

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The belief is that Taco Bell has the same effect as consuming castor oil, another method that pregnant women use in order to induce labor at about 38 weeks in. Castor oil, and apparently Taco Bell, are being used as a stimulant laxative that causes contractions in both the bowels and uterus.

While the entries in this forum vary from disbelief, to suggestions that Taco Bell’s Volcano hot sauce might do the trick, there isn’t much science behind the whole theory.

Childbirth experts on WebMD suggest that any of these so-called “natural” methods for inducing labor are baseless, and there’s no connection between the stomach and the uterus. So women using castor oil, or looking for the spiciest food possible in order to pop out their kid a little faster, are basically just psyching themselves out.

If anything, should the mom-to-be not be able to handle the castor oil or the spiciness of a Fiery Doritos Locos Taco, it could lead to diarrhea, which can also dehydrate the body.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a human inside me for nine months, and Taco Bell sounds like a great way to shut down some cravings, but if you’re close to giving birth, please be careful with what you’re putting into your body and at least consult a doctor before chugging 100 packets of Taco Bell hot sauce.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Whole Foods Under Fire for Using Cheap Prison Labor to Produce Cheese and Fish

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After issuing a public apology back in June for overcharging customers for seafood and produce, Whole Foods is now getting a bad wrap for using cheap prison labor to produce goods such as cheese and fish.

The popular grocery chain is one of several buyers of products produced by Colorado prison inmates via a prison labor arrangement in the state. Hyvee and Murray’s Cheese are two other private corporations that contract inmates to work for them under the same arrangement, according to Vice.

Colorado Corrections Industries (CCI), a department of the DOC that oversees labor and sales of goods and services, signs contracts with private businesses interested in using inmate labor to produce goods. An example of this contractual relationship with the DOC is Quixotic Farming.

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The company claims to be family-owned and operated for tilapia farming in Colorado and northern Missouri, but according to the DOC, Quixotic Farming pays to have inmates build fish tanks and then raise their tilapia. While the department gets a measly 85 cents a pound for the fish, Quixotic supplies vendors such as Hyvee and Whole Foods, who then sell it for an arm and a leg to consumers. Recently, tilapia was being sold for $11.99 per pound in New York.

On the short end of this stick, inmates are being paid anywhere from 74 cents to $4 a day for their hard labor. According to Dennis Dunsmoor, the director of the program, the base rate of 74 cents is what inmates earn in other jobs throughout the prison system, but CCI workers are able to earn bonuses for performance as well. The CCI makes a profit of about $64 million a year employing approximately 2,000 inmate laborers.

On one hand, prison and labor advocates are decrying this business arrangement as a form of slavery. Others are praising it as a valuable model for teaching inmates work skills and providing opportunities aside from the usual prison jobs such as cooking and laundry. The program also allows the department to make back the expenses on housing inmates.

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Dunsmoor, for one, believes the program is fair, as he told Vice:

“Ninety-seven percent of all offenders that come into prison will get out, and there’s a famous saying, ‘pay me now pay me later.’

“These guys are going to get back out on the street. A lot of these guys have never worked a job, never clocked in, never worked eight hours, and just that skill alone is very valuable, so we teach them that kind of work ethic.”

Alex Friedmann, a prisoner’s rights advocate and the managing editor of Prison Legal News and, has a different opinion:

“It’s basically exploiting prisoner’s labor. It’s strictly exploitation from our perspective.

“Part of the argument as to why we have prison industry programs is to teach prisoners market skills to help them find jobs when they get out. That’s a great selling point, but the problem is it’s not really accurate. How many tilapia farms are there in Colorado where they can get jobs when they get out?”

Critics who share Friedmann’s concern believe the use of cheap labor to produce goods sold by private companies is unfair because prisons and private companies have an advantage over those who must pay minimum wage for the same labor. In addition, prisoners are paid little to nothing for their work, have no way to unionize for better conditions, and work under the threat of being punished.

Whole Foods released a statement regarding the arrangement and explained that it is a part of its mission to support communities which “includes the paid, rehabilitative employment of inmates at CCI. They are paid for their work, and learn job skills that can help them contribute to society in meaningful ways upon their release.”

Written by Laura Dang of NextShark

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Hit-Or-Miss

There Was a French Fry Ban In Japan We Completely Forgot About

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A few weeks ago, we reported that Japan was going through a potato shortage that prevented McDonald’s from selling too many french fries. This was caused by labor contract disputes preventing the frozen potato pieces from arriving from West Coast US ports.

Because of this, Japanese chains limited portions to only small fries. Prices for combos that feature medium fries were reduced because of the smaller servings.

It’s now reported that those disputes have come to an end and the fries are once again available for mass consumption. Effective January 5, Japanese locations of McDonald’s will once again serve medium and large orders of fries to customers.

The company has also apologized for this occurring and promised they will try to avoid further shortfalls in the future.

Currently, McDonald’s has 3,100 locations in Japan. That’s a lot of stores to ration fries between.

h/t New York Times

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Fast Food

Potato Crisis Puts End to Super-Sized Fries in Japan, Small or Nothing

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Sad news for Japan. Thanks to a potato shortage caused by labor contract disputes, Japan is seeing less and less of the popular starch, reports Asahi News. Because no potatoes are coming in from US ports, McDonald’s Japan is rationing their fry supply.

No longer will the fast food chain be offering medium and large servings of the potato sticks. Customers will only be able to order a small serving of the fried potatoes.

Combo meals that feature a medium-sized order of french fries will now be 50 yen cheaper. That’s approximately 43 cents US. The fry rule is effective Dec. 17 and will carry on toward the foreseeable future at all Japanese McDonald’s locations.

No word yet if the fry embargo reaches to other fast food restaurants located in Japan.

h/t Kotaku

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Video

1 Gallon of Milk = 1000 Gallons of Water + More Eye-Opening Facts on Food Waste

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Food consumption is constant. Unfortunately, so is food waste. We toss out valuable produce both consciously and unconsciously, whether it’s ordering a meal we can’t finish at a restaurant or discarding out week-old bananas. In the US, many of us have the mindset that food waste is, yes, “unfortuante,” but ultimately inevitable. However, few of us ever think of the money, time and environmental costs that goes behind our food.

If we did, we’d probably think twice before tossing out those leftovers.

Food Waste, A Story of Excess takes us through a quick, yet eye-opening journey through consumption and waste in the US. The video shines a light on the gravity of our everyday decisions. A few startling notes from the video:

  • Food waste costs the US $165 billion annually
  • It takes 1000 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 gallon of milk
  • Half the food in the US is wasted between the farm and the fork

Watch the video below:

H/T Visual.ly