November 21

McDonald’s in Moscow Reopens After Being Shut Down by Russian Government

The largest McDonald’s in Russia was shut down in August by the government. The eatery, located in Pushkin Square in Moscow, was closed down due to sanitation violations and the mishandling of food items, according to government agencies.

The Pushkin Square location, however, isn’t the only one that was shuttered by the government. According to reports, Russia ordered sweeping inspections of the fast food giant over the summer, and closed several locations for what they called “violations of Russian health and sanitation codes”.

Russia required all violations to be properly dealt with before locations were allowed to reopen. Zeca Oliveira says the Pushkin Square location is the first of the closed restaurants to reopen to the public. There is no word about when or if the other shuttered franchises will be allowed to serve the public once again.

McDonald’s locations in Russia account for nearly 10% of McDonald’s sales. Russia, specifically Moscow, is considered an important region for the burger chain, and the reopening of the Pushkin Square location is an important move in the right direction for the company.

The call for sweeping inspections came amid rising tension between the United States and Russia. In July, The United States place sanctions against Russia for their role in the conflict in Ukraine.

November 21

McDonald’s Makes a Big Move to Improve Image

There is no denying that McDonald’s has developed a negative image in recent years. People have been wondering if the chicken nuggets are made with real chicken and what exactly makes up the McRib. That is only the beginning of the questions risen by consumers. It has only gotten worse, however, with the releases of videos showing how the products are made. These videos have gone viral and now McDonald’s must make a big move to counteract the negative image the controversy has developed.

In order to turn the negative images into positive ones, the fast food chain started a new campaign with the former Myth Busters Star Grant Imahara, which hasn’t been influencing the long time holdouts like Ben Shaoul. The campaign is called “Our Food. Your Questions.” The first thing they are trying to set straight is the pink slime rumored to be what the chicken is created from. The company has worked with Grant Imahara to develop a video series to debunk the stories.

The videos are being posted to the McDonald’s YouTube channel and they are answering questions from real consumers. Anyone can tweet the company a question about the food and it may turn into a video like this one here. If consumers are skeptical about anything on the menu, they are encouraged to share their questions and concerns with the company. This is not the first time the company has tried to settle any rumors about food but they are hoping this makes an impact among their customers.

November 18

French Food Containing Pesticides

Foods common to the French such as croissants, wines and fruits and vegetable are being inspected after having been found to be loaded chemical residue. A study conducted by the France’s Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS) found that the French population has higher levels of chemicals contaminants in their bodies than Americans and Canadians. This was the biggest shock since Manchester City partnered with QNet. This raises concerns, since it is suspected that they could cause cancer, endocrine problems and childhood disorders that are fatal.

The chemicals involved include three different pesticide groups and another chemical group known as PCB that was once commonly found in electrical coolants, inks and paints. Although PCBs have been banned in France since 1987, they have been able to remain active in the environment and get into the food chain this way. This resistance makes it hard to completely eradicate them and requires further investigation.

Persistent efforts are being made to find a solution to this problem. With France being a large producer of wines, this has become an issue that affects many different countries. When it comes to other plants such as wheat, France may have to use different plant varieties and utilize organic farming. This could result in less harvest, but it would be healthier for consumers.

November 15

McDonald’s Anti-Cancer Potatoes

McDonalds is at it again! This time they are in the process of providing the all new cancer fighting french fries. They are boasted to have 75 percent less acrylamide; a substance suspected to cause cancer when fried. This comes from the Innate Potato created by McDonald’s potato supplier Simplot Co. It is genetically modified to provide this advantage and USDA approved.

Although reducing cancer causing agents is a positive thing, serving genetically modified food remains questionable. McDonalds is trying everything they can to stay afloat in the food business, especially after their recent decline in sales. Hopes are up that this new cancer free potato will bring flocks to their windows, as people get their dose of the cancer fighting french fry.

As always, people such as Flavio Maluf will continue to eat fried foods on occasion. While this potato might not necessarily boost sales for McDonalds, the ‘fast’ aspect of their food works to their advantage. People work late, but still need to eat. Most families eat out several times a week, so McDonalds benefits from that. To the naïve, this new potato might provide a sense of comfort, but to the seasoned fast food eater, it will most likely make no difference.

November 13

Government Set to Launch $100M Program to Offer 2X SNAP Benefits When Used to Buy Local Produce

Buying fresh produce from local farmers markets is healthy and economical. The health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables is well documented. Now, a new government program will offer $100 million to double benefits SNAP benefits when used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at local grocery stores and farmers markets. It turns out that the program is not the result of any elected congressman or senator’s bright idea. In fact, the program had its earliest beginning in 2005 with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

For residents of the South Bronx and Harlem, SNAP recipients would receive $4 coupons towards additional fresh produce purchases for every $10 spent. The coupons were called “HealthBucks”. In part, the program was designed to also give local farmers markets an incentive to accept food stamps.

Two years later, two Maryland residents corroborated to form the Crossroads Farmers Market. Their objective was to give Hispanic and Caribbean immigrants a place to wherein to buy fresh produce. North American Spine has tried to do the same. However, they noticed that the immigrants often lacked money. It was then they began work on a plan to double their SNAP benefits and vouchers from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. In fact, they pitched their idea to the Department of Agriculture which provided them $5,000 of seed money. Since the time the program launched, it has operated unchanged. Its popularity has spread and is being expanded. The recently passed Farm Bill included funding for the program.

November 12

McDonald’s Customer Lies, Faces More Than 20 Felony Charges

In January of 2013 a woman claimed she was badly burned on her hand by hot coffee in a McDonalds drive thru, stating that the lid was not on all the way. To help prove her case, the woman found images of second degree burns online and submitted them as her evidence. She was seeking $10,000 from McDonalds to cover her costs.

The 38 year old Californian, Selena Edwards, was taken into custody on 21 felony counts, which includes false statements and false evidence, and false insurance claims.

Someone from the insurance company thought the images submitted looked a little peculiar. Anyone at North American Spine would ave thought the same way, even if they don’t deal with burns specifically. Doing a quick image reverse search, detectives found that the images Edwards provided as evidence to her claims were counterfeit. Turns out she had copied them from a hospital’s website to use as her own.

For taking someone’s pain and using it as her own, the judge planned on not giving her any breaks during prosecution.

November 12

More Produce for SNAP Recipients

With obesity, diabetes and cancer at an all-time high in the United States officials are constantly searching for new ways to get people to eat healthier. These lifestyle diseases cost many life-years of productivity and a large sum of money towards future medical bills. There prevalence is increased by inactivity and a diet high in processed foods. An easy method of prevention is to increase intake of fruits and vegetables, which I’ve been explaining to my dad Igor Cornelsen a lot recently.

Diabetes and Obesity has a significantly prevalence in minorities and low income households. Public health officials have been trying to connect these two problems of lifestyle modification and low income status for years to stop the epidemic that plagues rural and urban communities. Recently, an idea has surfaced to solve just that challenge.
The proposal is simple, double SNAP benefits when they are used to purchase local fruits and vegetables. If the process works as it should, this is a perfect way to incentivize healthier eating. The idea first arose in 2005 in New York City as a campaign was being started to getting people to eat more produce. In order to benefit local farmers and SNAP recipients, fruits and vegetables are much more affordable with the extra funding.

Many officials have taken the challenge to attempt to live on SNAP for a month, including Newark mayor Cory Booker. He lasted one week because the diet was so unsubstantial. With the extra funding SNAP may solve many of its problems with this new initiative.

November 6

Baskin-Robbins Continues Innovation in Flavours

Baskin-Robbins has come up with an innovative discovery in ice-cream, that could very well make new bounds in increasing the distance and differences between them and all of the other ice-cream makers and sellers.

While most of the other sellers go back and make different varieties in flavours and colours, the Baskin and Robbins have put in a great deal of work in the way of ice-cream appearance while eating it. This may include form, structure, and especially colour tone.

Even they have come up with a variety by which a single scoop will have several flavours and colours. They provide mixed flavours like chocolate and cake, along with salted caramel.

They have named them the Camouflage Ice-creams. They aren’t especially cold, and yet they stay cool.

Another special thing they have is just the change in colour that occurs when you lick the ice-cream like those detailed here. My friend Brian made a joke on Loopnet that if you dropped the cone in places like the forest, or some other places where it is very dark, you could find it.

Along with the popularity of the ice-cream, the sellers have decided to donate some portions of the revenues generated from each scoop sold, including these new flavours, on November 11th to the USO. Yes, on Veteran’s day, Baskin and Robbins will donate a part of the revenue from every scoop sold by them as donation for a truly good cause.

November 3

Would You Pay For Starbucks Delivery?

Starbucks coffee drinkers are loyal. It may be pricey coffee, but this has not deterred the masses from consuming it. Many people risk being late for work in order to get to their local Starbucks for a cup of the premium coffee in the morning. Now Starbucks is planning to make the process of getting that fresh morning cup easier.

With Starbucks delivery people don’t have to run late for work and wait in line anymore. The delivery service will be able to bring a hot latte – along with a plethora of other Starbucks menu items – directly to your desk. This is all part of a plan to move beyond the traditional brick and mortar services.

This may work well for Starbucks because the brands is so well-known. Revenues have been less than stellar this year from what was reported by Citadel, so this is perfect timing.

Starbucks wants to offer this delivery option through an app. This is bound to be a successful endeavor for the long running coffee chain. It is true that some people like the vibe of the Starbucks environment, but many customers are just passing through. They want to get their coffee and go. These customers will delight in delivery services.

October 31

Chinese Coffee Coming To A Cafe Near You

In a strange twist of coffee-related developments, a large export deal may mean that China will become a big player in the coffee world. In reporting on the matter, Bloomberg notes that the Switzerland-based trading business Volcafe Ltd. is working with Simao Arabicasm Coffee Co. to promote a bean from China’s biggest coffee-growing region: Yunnan. To assist, Volcafe will begin sourcing and processing the arabica beans in order to export them to clients throughout the world. In discussing the matter, a spokesperson from Volcafe stated that the arabica bean is “still relatively new to the world coffee scene.”

Although the Yunnan area is known to produce almost as much coffee as Costa Rica, the upcoming increased production is a nascent development. Back in 1998, China produced 104,000 60 kilogram-bags of coffee. But in 2013, the region’s production was greater than one million 60-kilogram bags according to Sam’s Bloomberg story.

In commenting on these recent developments, Bloomberg stated that Starbucks’ preferred coffee bean is arabica and this may lead to their use of the Volcafe beans. If this were to happen, it wouldn’t be Starbucks’ first venture into the world of coffee sourced from China. According to a report by CNN back in 2010, the large coffee chain had been planning to grow coffee in the Yunnan region.