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NATIONAL
January 31, 2013
Since the beginning of the republic, there has been a dynamic tension between constantly expanding diversity driven by immigration and the relentless homogenizing force of common American culture. And there's nothing like a long drive on an interstate highway to remind a person of that reality. On Monday, I traveled 600 miles on I-5 cutting through the center of California, from Redding to Los Angeles. The force of homogenization was apparent at every major exit and interchange. I was hungry, but I was hoping to find something beyond McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Wendy's, Arby's or Taco Bell.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2014 | Steve Lopez
The first day you fast, says Eliseo Medina, your stomach begs you to reconsider. The second day is worse. "Your body starts asking for food," the 68-year-old local activist told me about his fast for immigration reform. "It becomes more difficult and you wonder if it's worth doing this. " But Medina's commitment is an extension of the work he began almost half a century ago, shoulder to shoulder with Cesar Chavez. So there was no letting up last fall, as he made his appeal outside the halls of power in Washington, D.C. When his stomach growled, he drew strength from fellow fasters as they joined hands and prayed.
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OPINION
September 26, 2013
Re "Burger King launches low-fat French fries," Sept. 25 Burger King's new Satisfries won't reduce waistlines. These lower-calorie fries are part of a marketing ploy to convince Americans that fast food can be healthy. Burger King benefits from Americans being obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35% of adults and 17% of children in America are obese. As a nursing student, I see the long-term effects of obesity on a regular basis. These are serious problems that can only be helped with major lifestyle changes to lower weight and improve overall health.
SCIENCE
March 3, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
In the last 50 years, what's on dinner plates has grown more similar the world over - with major consequences for human nutrition and global food security, researchers said Monday. “Diversity enhances the health and function of complex biological systems,” the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But, they said, the world of food has become homogeneous, to the point of suggesting a global standard food supply. In the last half a century, “national per capita food supplies expanded in total quantities of food calories, protein, fat and weight,” they said.
SCIENCE
January 16, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Imagine for a moment that all of the nation's fast-food establishments--all the striped awnings and golden arches, the drive-thru windows, the beckoning dollar deals and wafting odor of French fries--were to vanish overnight. Would the number of our kids who carry an unhealthful amount of extra weight plummet? The answer is very likely no, says a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Because if you shut off the supply of 24-ounce fountain drinks, bacon cheeseburgers, fried chicken and stuffed tacos, the children who frequently eat at fast-food restaurants will go home and do what they generally do when not eating at a fast-food restaurant: They'll snarf cookies and chips, chug sugar-sweetened soda from a bottle, and heat up frozen pizzas.
BUSINESS
August 28, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Fast-food workers and their supporters are calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage as they prepare to picket in nationwide protests Thursday. That raises the question: If they're successful, will burger prices soar? Expert opinion is mixed. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. More than doubling that level would be an unprecedented leap.  Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist and co-chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at UC Berkeley, said it's unclear whether a minimum wage bump would have enough of a ripple effect to affect consumer wallets.
NEWS
February 18, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Heart attacks might not be such a big wake-up call for some. Sure, many people turn their lives around, but consider this study that tracked fast-food habits among patients who had been hospitalized with heart attacks. Six months after having an attack, researchers say some cut back on their frequent fast-food habit -- but more than half didn't. The study published in February in the American Journal of Cardiology identified 884 heart attack patients who said they frequently -- every week or more -- ate fast food.
NEWS
February 24, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Go ahead, have a side of fries with your trip to Disney World. Everyone else apparently does, making Orlando tops in the nation for the number of fast-food restaurants at least in one ranking.    An article in the Orlando Sentinel explains how the amusement park mecca comes by the distinction. The Daily Beast was curious enough to determine that out of nearly 500 large U.S. cities, Orlando had the most McDonald's, Burger Kings, KFCs and other fast-food restaurants per 100,000 residents.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
Though fast-food restaurants tout that a large proportion of their managers started in entry-level positions, a report released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project finds that few fast-food workers join management ranks.   The group, which advocates on behalf of low-wage workers, said there is limited opportunity for advancement at fast-food restaurants. Analyzing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report found that about 2% of jobs in the industry are classified as "managerial, professional or technical occupations.
OPINION
September 6, 2013
Re "Stepping up from flipping burgers," Editorial, Sept. 2 I thank fast-food workers for raising an important issue. Wages have been stagnant for too long. But there are many other jobs that require more training and responsibility that are underpaid. Here are some examples I found in L.A. County alone: An entry-level cardiac electrodiagnostic technician earns about $13.70 an hour, and an entry-level mental health advocate makes about $12 an hour. Granted, these people get benefits, but that doesn't necessarily translate into good take-home pay that covers the rent or buys food.
SCIENCE
January 16, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Imagine for a moment that all of the nation's fast-food establishments--all the striped awnings and golden arches, the drive-thru windows, the beckoning dollar deals and wafting odor of French fries--were to vanish overnight. Would the number of our kids who carry an unhealthful amount of extra weight plummet? The answer is very likely no, says a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Because if you shut off the supply of 24-ounce fountain drinks, bacon cheeseburgers, fried chicken and stuffed tacos, the children who frequently eat at fast-food restaurants will go home and do what they generally do when not eating at a fast-food restaurant: They'll snarf cookies and chips, chug sugar-sweetened soda from a bottle, and heat up frozen pizzas.
NEWS
December 6, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
A quick stop for a hamburger at a Wendy's in Lovejoy, Ga., gave one customer a snoot full of reasons to rethink her fast-food decision. When the customer noticed an unusual smell coming from the burger, she opened the bun and found a partially smoked marijuana joint inside, Lovejoy police Lt. Michael Gaddis told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. The half-smoked blunt was inadvertently dropped into the food by an employee of the (wait for it) burger joint. The employee faces a criminal misdemeanor charge and has lost her job. “We haven't seen one like this before,” Gaddis said.
BUSINESS
December 5, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Fast-food workers, union organizers and community supporters rallied nationwide for higher pay Thursday amid criticism from the restaurant industry that the campaign was "part of an ongoing effort to replace fact with fiction while ignoring simple truths. " The first protest in Southern California launched at 6 a.m. at a McDonald's in Florence, as more than 100 people gathered under a still-dark sky with signs and megaphones. "Keep your burgers, keep your fries, make our wages super-sized," they chanted, swaddled against the chill in beanies and hoodies.
NEWS
December 4, 2013 | By Matthew Fleischer, guest blogger
On Thursday, fast-food workers in more than 100 cities across America will stage a national strike to demand a living wage of $15 an hour. Conservatives and restaurant conglomerates have responded by arguing that fast-food jobs are meant for inexperienced teenagers as entry-level, job-training types of positions, and therefore don't merit living-wage pay. In many cases that's probably true. Those of us who began our working lives slinging pizzas or flipping burgers as teenagers know that we likely didn't deserve a living wage for our labors.
SCIENCE
November 24, 2013 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
Fast food might make it harder to stop and smell the roses - and not just because of the overpowering aroma of French fries  - a new study from the University of Toronto argues. Researchers pointed out that Americans have gained more and more leisure time, yet they aren't any happier. The problem could be that modern conveniences that are supposed to save time actually make us more impatient, and therefore less able to savor small moments of joy. To test that theory, the University of Toronto researchers carried out three different tests focused on happiness and quintessentially American “symbols of the culture of impatience”: fast foods.
BUSINESS
November 13, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Low wages paid by the fast-food industry come with a high public cost for California taxpayers, academics and advocates for the working poor told state lawmakers. Workers at hamburger, pizza and other, mainly franchise, eateries are paid at near-minimum-wage levels, making them eligible for public assistance that totaled an average of $717 million a year in California from 2007 to 2011. The condition of low-wage fry cooks and sandwich makers was the focus of a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly labor committees Wednesday.
NEWS
December 6, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
With the winter season comes a barrage of fast-food holiday menu items, and this year that includes McDonald's McRib. The burger chain is bringing out the cult-status BBQ boneless-pork-patty sandwich on Dec. 17 for the holidays (the once-a-year special usually shows up for an October-to-November run) in an effort to boost year-end sales.  It's not just the McRib that rears its head this holiday season; Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte is flowing, despite rumors of a shortage. And desserts such as McDonald's McFlurry, Sonic's milkshakes and Burger King sundaes get holiday-ized.
BUSINESS
January 25, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
No more missing inches: Subway says that never again will a Footlong sandwich meet a ruler it can't match. In the company's own words: “We regret any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers. We freshly bake our bread throughout the day in our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide, and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve. Our commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every Subway Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide.” This after an outcry when an Australian customer posted a photo of a Footlong sub on Subway's Facebook page.
SCIENCE
November 5, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
It's not often that the so-called food cops have kind words for the fast-food industry, but there are a few of them in a new report on the offerings from restaurants such as McDonald's, KFC and Taco Bell -- and how they are marketed to kids. Analysts from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity - a leading proponent of efforts to remove sugary drinks from schools and impose a sin tax on sodas , among other initiatives - analyzed the menu offerings from 18 fast-food chains.
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