The Salt What's On Your Plate

A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A woman prepares a Japanese Christmas cake at the Patisserie Akira Cake shop on Dec. 23, 2011. The sponge cake is drenched in symbolic meaning. Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images hide caption

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Halal jamón products made with lamb and beef inside the Balkis Gourmet curing room in Cumbres Mayores in Andalusia, Spain. Lauren Frayer for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lauren Frayer for NPR

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Farm workera at Lipman Produce load tomatoes on a truck on Jan. 16, 2014 in Naples, Fla. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. joined an initiative that will require its Florida tomato suppliers to increase farm worker pay and protect workers from forced labor and sexual assault, among other things. Wilfredo Lee/AP hide caption

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The Cornucopia Institute commissioned this photo of an organic egg producer in Saranac, Mich. According to Cornucopia, the facility is owned by Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, which has a license to maintain up to 1 million chickens on this site. Courtesy of The Cornucopia Institute hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of The Cornucopia Institute

When it comes to salty french fries or pizza served at lunch, schools may get more time to dial back sodium content, thanks to a provision in the federal spending bill headed for a vote on Capitol Hill. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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At the end of the day, Roma tomatoes are ready for transport in Cristo Rey in the state of Sinaloa. Half the tomatoes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico. Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times hide caption

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At about $15 a gram, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Rumi Spice has a unique model of employing Afghan farmers who are growing it that aims to double or even triple their annual income. Cristina Hirschkorn/Courtesy of Rumi Spice hide caption

itoggle caption Cristina Hirschkorn/Courtesy of Rumi Spice

Master butcher Kari Underly cuts into a hog during a "Women in the Meat Business" workshop in Chapel Hill, NC. Leoneda Inge/North Carolina Public Radio hide caption

itoggle caption Leoneda Inge/North Carolina Public Radio

Hank Magnuski (left) feeds hikers at his pop-up Sonora Pass Cafe. Some of his diners also took the opportunity to use his wi-fi. Lisa Morehouse hide caption

itoggle caption Lisa Morehouse

A worker at Moo Cluck Moo, a fast-casual burger and chicken chain in suburban Detroit, prepares a meal. Workers at Moo Cluck Moo all make $15 an hour. Zachary Rosen for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Zachary Rosen for NPR

Vani Hari, known as the "Food Babe," speaks at the Green Festival in Los Angeles on Sept. 12. Hari has made a name for herself by investigating ingredients in Big Food products that she deems potentially harmful. But critics accuse her of stoking unfounded fears. Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rotten, fermented fruit has some nutritional value, and may have looked pretty good to our hungry ancient ancestors. Evolving the ability to metabolize the alcohol in fermented fruit may have helped us adapt to a changing climate 10 million years ago, research suggests. iStockphoto hide caption

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Samples of carrots cooked three ways are placed on a table for the kids at Walker-Jones Educational Campus, in Washington, D.C., to sample after they have finished lunch. The crowd favorite will later end up on the school lunch menu. Claire Eggers/NPR hide caption

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Free-range chickens stand in a pen at an organic-accredited poultry farm in Germany. Joern Pollex/Getty Images hide caption

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