The Salt The Salt is a blog from the NPR Science Desk about what we eat and why we eat it. We serve up food stories with a side of skepticism that may provoke you or just make you smile.
FDA Finds Hazards Lurking In Parsley, Cilantro, Guacamole

The Food and Drug Administration has started testing randomly selected fresh herbs and prepared guacamole. So far, the agency has found dangerous bacteria in 3 percent to 6 percent of the samples it tested.Joff Lee/Getty Imageshide caption

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Joff Lee/Getty Images
Tea, Honey And Lemon: Does This Classic Trifecta Actually Help A Sore Throat?

Sure, this elixir is tasty and comforting, but will it actually soothe your sore throat and help bring your voice back?Ovidiu Minzat/EyeEm/Getty Images hide caption

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Ovidiu Minzat/EyeEm/Getty Images
New Maps Reveal Global Fishing's 'Vast Scope Of Exploitation Of The Ocean'

A global map showing where all fishing vessels were active during 2016. Dark circles show the vessels avoiding exclusive economic zones around islands, where they aren't allowed.Global Fishing Watchhide caption

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Global Fishing Watch
Even The Hamburglar Might Like McDonald's New Vegan Burger (We Did)

Sales of McDonald's new soy-based patty have far surpassed estimates in Sweden, where half the population says it's interested in more vegetarian options. Are diners just curious or truly lovin' it?McDonald's Swedenhide caption

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McDonald's Sweden
Arizona's Tepary Beans Preserve A Native Past, Hold Promise For The Future

Gary Nabhan holds white tepary beans grown at his home in Patagonia, Ariz. Nabhan believes that drought-tolerant teparies could become a solution for growing food in a hotter and drier Arizona.Mariana Dale/KJZZhide caption

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Mariana Dale/KJZZ
Like Lemons? Quinoa? Thank This Food Explorer For Bringing Them To Your Plate

Cherry blossom trees, known as sakura, flourished in Japan. Fairchild imported several dozen trees for his own property in Chevy Chase, Md., and after seeing how much people liked them, he helped negotiate a larger shipment of trees to be planted around the Tidal Basin near the Washington Monument.David Fairchild/Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardenhide caption

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David Fairchild/Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

Like Lemons? Quinoa? Thank This Food Explorer For Bringing Them To Your Plate

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Toddler Milks: Filling A Nutritional Need Or A Marketing Niche?

Toddler milks are more expensive and generally less nutritious than milk, says a researcher.Arian Melchor Manzanero Pool /Getty Images/EyeEmhide caption

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Arian Melchor Manzanero Pool /Getty Images/EyeEm
Scientists Develop A Way To Use A Smartphone To Prevent Food Poisoning

UMass food scientists Lynne McLandsborough, left, and Lili He are researching ways to use your smartphone to detect bacteria in food.Karen Brown/New England Public Radiohide caption

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Karen Brown/New England Public Radio
Goodbye, Mr. Okra: New Orleans Remembers Its Singing Vegetable Vendor

During the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival last April, Mr. Okra drove his iconic produce truck and called out to customers.Erika Goldring/Getty Imageshide caption

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Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Listen to Mr. Okra’s Call

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Eureka! California-Grown Coffee Is Becoming The State's Next Gold Mine

Coffee cherries are harvested at Good Land Organics, a farm in Goleta, Calif.Matthew Christopher Miller/Good Land Organicshide caption

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Matthew Christopher Miller/Good Land Organics
U.K. Supermarkets To Ban Energy Drinks For Shoppers Under 16

Next month in the U.K., anyone at a major grocery store looking to buy a soft drink with more than 150 mg of caffeine per liter will need to present an ID.Stephane Grangier/Getty Imageshide caption

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Stephane Grangier/Getty Images
$40 Million Later, A Pioneering Plan To Boost Wild Fish Stocks Shows Little Success

Staff at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute sluice juvenile white seabass into a cage at Santa Catalina Island, in Southern California, where they grow before being released into the ocean. Thirty-five years ago, the state launched the program to bolster waning white seabass numbers. Now the first scientific assessment of the program finds it had a stunningly low success rate.Mike Shane/Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute hide caption

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Mike Shane/Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute
McDonald's Commits To More Balanced Happy Meals By 2022

A Happy Meal and McFlurry are arranged for a photograph at a McDonald's Corp. fast food restaurant in Phoenix, Ariz. The company says in the next four years, 50 percent or more of its kids meals will meet new nutrition criteria, with 600 or fewer calories per meal and caps on calories from sugar and saturated fat.Bloomberg via Getty Imageshide caption

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Bloomberg via Getty Images
Black Restaurant Week: Across U.S., Events Remind Diners, 'We're Here. Support Us'

Thromentta Anderson, the owner of Pass Da Peas in northwest Milwaukee likes to greet customers by name and give them tokens toward free drinks. But he was glad to see new faces during Black Restaurant Week.Alan Greenblatt for NPRhide caption

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Alan Greenblatt for NPR
These Citizen-Regulators In Arkansas Defied Monsanto. Now They're Under Attack

Ray Vester served on the Arkansas State Plant Board for 18 years. "It's self-governing, by the people, for the people," he says.Dan Charles/NPRhide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

These Citizen-Regulators In Arkansas Defied Monsanto. Now They're Under Attack

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Candy Heart Messages Getting Stale? Computer-Generated Options Are No Help

If "I Love You" candy hearts aren't imaginative enough, you can always consider "Stank Love" or "Sweat Poo."Melissa Deakin Photography/Getty Imageshide caption

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Melissa Deakin Photography/Getty Images

Candy Heart Messages Getting Stale? Computer-Generated Options Are No Help

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'Semla Man': The Pastry-Eating Superhero Sweden Needs On Fat Tuesday

While much of the world gorges on pancakes for Fat Tuesday, the semla is the go-to delicacy of the North, traditionally devoured just before Lent. It takes various forms (and names) throughout Scandinavia.AYImages/Getty Imageshide caption

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AYImages/Getty Images
Trump Administration Wants To Decide What Food SNAP Recipients Will Get

Rebecka Ortiz offers her daughter a pasta sample at the store where she was using her food stamps to stock up on food for her family in Woonsocket, R.I. The Trump administration is proposing drastic changes in the "food stamp" program, now called SNAP. People getting that aid would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy.Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Imageshide caption

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Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images
What Canola Can Tell Us About Crops And Climate Change

Warmer temperatures are making canola and possibly other brassica seedpods open too early, reducing crop yields.Andrew Davies/courtesy John Innes Centrehide caption

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Andrew Davies/courtesy John Innes Centre
Climate Change Could Mean Less Maple Syrup For Your Pancakes

New technologies that replace the traditional bucket and tap method of getting sap from sugar maples may help combat climate change's effect on the trees.Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald/Getty Imageshide caption

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Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images
Hamilton's Aaron Burr Has Some Culinary Advice: Talk Less, Cook More (Creatively)

On Broadway, Daniel Breaker shines as Alexander Hamilton's greatest rival, Aaron Burr. In the kitchen, he also creates a stir, sir. But whether acting or cooking, both require perseverance and experimentation.Joan Marcus/Hamilton Uptown LLChide caption

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Joan Marcus/Hamilton Uptown LLC
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