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.
The Salt

The Salt

What's On Your Plate

Unlike most dairy cows in America, which are descended from just two bulls, this cow at Pennsylvania State University has a different ancestor: She is the daughter of a bull that lived decades ago, called University of Minnesota Cuthbert. The bull's frozen semen was preserved by the U.S. Agriculture Department. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

Most U.S. Dairy Cows Are Descended From Just 2 Bulls. That's Not Good

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Actor Roger Moore, who played secret agent James Bond in the '70s and '80s, holds a martini. A new book written by a former CIA officer details how restaurants and cafes "are in many ways the lifeblood of espionage." AP hide caption

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AP

A vineyard in Tarija, Bolivia, the center of the country's wine industry. A growing number of wineries here are improving their techniques, ramping up production and starting to export, as global interest in Bolivia's award-winning wines grows. Insights/Universal Images Group/Getty Images hide caption

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Insights/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Kansas Farmer Luke Ulrich faces long hours and low pay in part because of Trump's trade policies, but he still backs Trump. Frank Morris/KCUR hide caption

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Frank Morris/KCUR

Farmers Sticking By Trump Even As Trade Wars Bite

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More cities are passing legislation to ban the construction of drive-through windows in an attempt to curb emissions, reduce litter and improve pedestrian safety. The bans are also sometimes touted as a way to help fight obesity, but past studies suggest they don't have that effect. Tim Boyle/Getty Images hide caption

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Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Depression symptoms dropped significantly in a group of young adults who ate a Mediterranean-style diet for three weeks. It's the latest study to show that food can influence mental health. Claudia Totir/Getty Images hide caption

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Claudia Totir/Getty Images

A new rule proposed by the Labor Department would allow employers to require waitstaff and others to share their tips with kitchen staff. But labor advocates say it could allow bosses to take advantage of their workers. studiocasper/Getty Images hide caption

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studiocasper/Getty Images
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

When Efforts To Eat 'Clean' Become An Unhealthy Obsession

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A worker at a bog owned by Massachusetts-based Decas Cranberry Products, Inc., removes vines from a batch of just-harvested berries. Jesse Costa/WBUR hide caption

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Jesse Costa/WBUR

A new study finds that tuna harvests, including of some species considered "vulnerable," have increased by an astonishing 1,000% in the last 60 years — a rate that some scientists warn is unsustainable. NiCK/Getty Images hide caption

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NiCK/Getty Images

The long arms of pivot irrigation rigs deliver water from the Ogallala Aquifer to circular fields of corn in northwestern Kansas. A new study suggests many of the world's rivers and streams could dry up because people are draining underground aquifers that sustain streams through dry periods. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

Irrigation For Farming Could Leave Many Of The World's Streams And Rivers Dry

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A new set of analyses contradict the current dietary recommendations to limit red and processed meats. PeopleImages/Getty Images hide caption

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PeopleImages/Getty Images

No Need To Cut Back On Red Meat? Controversial New 'Guidelines' Lead To Outrage

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U.S. adults put on about a pound a year on average. But people who had a regular nut-snacking habit put on less weight and had a lower risk of becoming obese over time, a new study finds. R.Tsubin/Getty Images hide caption

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R.Tsubin/Getty Images

Just A Handful Of Nuts May Help Keep Us From Packing On The Pounds As We Age

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A Swedish government program called the Edible Country recruited Michelin-starred chefs to create recipes that use ingredients that can be foraged from the areas around 13 picnic tables scattered across the countryside. Diners book a table, show up and hunt for their own food. Tina Stafrén/Visit Sweden hide caption

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Tina Stafrén/Visit Sweden

A selection of small feeding vessels dating back to the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Researchers now say vessels like these were used as prehistoric baby bottles. Katharina Rebay-Salisbury hide caption

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Katharina Rebay-Salisbury

An engraving dating from the 19th century depicts passenger pigeons, once one of the most common birds in North America but now extinct because of overhunting and deforestation. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty hide caption

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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty

A diver maintains an open-water cage where tuna are being farmed in Izmir, Turkey. In the U.S., federally controlled ocean waters have been off limits to aquaculture, curbing the industry's growth. But the tide may be turning. Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images hide caption

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Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

An employee handles sides of pork on a conveyor at a Smithfield Foods Inc. pork processing facility in Milan, Mo. Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

USDA Offers Pork Companies A New Inspection Plan, Despite Opposition

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Illustration from a 19th-century edition of Robinson Crusoe, a novel by Daniel Defoe first published in 1719. It relates the story of Robinson Crusoe, stranded on an island for 28 years and his subsequent fight for survival. Out of desperation, he became a master of innovation, especially at preparing meals. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images hide caption

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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

An adult spotted lanternfly searches for tasty grapevines at Vynecrest Vineyards and Winery, near Allentown, Pa. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

Vineyards Facing An Insect Invasion May Turn To Aliens For Help

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