Seeds of Death, Chickens of Death, and Terminal (2) Food Prices

Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

1. The week in killer foods. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the source of the European E. coli outbreak that killed 48 people may have been found: Egyptian fenugreek seeds used for sprouts. And Wired reports that two Dutch studies have identified factory-farmed chicken as patient zero for antibiotic-resistant E. coli.

2. Terminal 2: Bad for the workers. A few weeks ago, SF Weekly published my review of the sustainability-oriented food at Terminal 2. Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Jennifer Platt, who works for one of the airlines flying out of T2. She pointed out something I hadn't thought of: Airport workers have been priced out of eating at their own workplace. “Even with the 10 percent discount, it's close to an hour's wage for lunch.”

In the review, I wondered whether a terminal with 10 gates could support 12 restaurants. Platt agreed with my concerns: “I predict that the only ones left standing will be Peet's, Burger Joint, and Andale's. It will take a while, but they will be replaced by the old airport standbys like Subway, Burger King, and some sports bar beer joint. If these businesses really intend to stay in business, lower your prices, make employee menus, have daily specials, or don't expect nonpassengers to patronize your restaurant. Get to know your crowd: underpaid employees and bargain-focused travelers. Save the fluff for the Ferry Building.” Hear that, Plant Cafe?

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