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.

Cottonseed is full of protein but toxic to humans and most animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week approved a genetically engineered cotton with edible seeds. They could eventually feed chickens, fish — or even people. Courtesy of Lacey Roberts/Texas A&M University hide caption

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Courtesy of Lacey Roberts/Texas A&M University

Not Just For Cows Anymore: New Cottonseed Is Safe For People To Eat

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Sam Richman, owner-chef of Sammy's Deluxe restaurant in Rockland, says his patrons tend to prefer full-grown unagi smoked, European style, rather than as Japanese sushi. Keith Shortall/Maine Public Radio hide caption

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Keith Shortall/Maine Public Radio

Allagash employees Salim Raal, left, and Brendan McKay stack bottles of Golden Brett, a limited release beer fermented with a house strain of Brettanomyces yeast. The Maine brewery recently installed solar panels as part of its sustainability initiatives. Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images hide caption

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Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Vancouver activist and community food developer Ian Marcuse rides a bike outfitted like a spawning salmon created by artist Tamara Unroe. Murray Bush/Wild Salmon Caravan 2018 hide caption

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Murray Bush/Wild Salmon Caravan 2018

The shells are trucked over to Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood and once a month are brought en masse to Governors Island in the heart of the New York Harbor. Billion Oyster Project has collected more than 1 million pounds of oyster shells so far. Courtesy of Agata Poniatowski hide caption

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Courtesy of Agata Poniatowski

These soybeans were damaged in 2017 by dicamba, a popular weedkiller that's prone to drifting into neighboring fields. Some farmers in the state are defying efforts by regulators to strictly limit use of the chemical. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

Despite A Ban, Arkansas Farmers Are Still Spraying Controversial Weedkiller

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Harvey Washington Wiley was instrumental in bringing about regulations to boost sanitation and decrease food adulteration. Historical/Corbis via Getty Images hide caption

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Historical/Corbis via Getty Images

How A 19th Century Chemist Took On The Food Industry With A Grisly Experiment

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Ancient Maya ruins at Tikal in northern Guatemala, near the border with Belize. Researcher Heather McKillop explains that Maya sites like Tikal could have been popular marketplaces to trade salt and other commodities. David DUCOIN/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images hide caption

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David DUCOIN/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Geoff Walser picks out a ristra, a wreath-like decoration made from dried chiles, to purchase at the annual Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival, which draws thousands of chile lovers from Colorado and beyond. Andy Cross/Denver Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Andy Cross/Denver Post/Getty Images

Fried chicken and mac and cheese: A study suggests Southern cuisine may be at the center of a tangled web of reasons why black people in America are more prone to hypertension than white people. Robert Manella/Getty Images hide caption

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Robert Manella/Getty Images

Jaap Korteweg, here in The Vegetarian Butcher's new restaurant, De Vleesch Lobby, says recreating the texture of meat "requires the patience of a monk and the best experts to achieve the right result." Thessa Lageman/NPR hide caption

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Thessa Lageman/NPR

At Shiru Cafe in Providence, R.I., students "pay" for coffee, but not with money. Chaiel Schaffel /Rhode Island Public Radio hide caption

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Chaiel Schaffel /Rhode Island Public Radio

The edges of this sycamore leaf are turned upward into a cuplike shape, the typical sign of exposure to dicamba. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

A Drifting Weedkiller Puts Prized Trees At Risk

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More kids are eating at fast-food chains like McDonald's, according to a new study, but parents are buying the healthier side options only about half the time. Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images hide caption

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Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Brian Wansink demonstrates his "bottomless bowl of soup" — used to show that people eat more when served in a bowl secretly replenished from the inside — after he was awarded a 2007 Ig Nobel Prize in 2007 at Harvard University. Wansink made a name for himself producing pithy, palatable studies that connected people's eating habits with cues from their environment. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound in Maine, says she believes that cannabis can calm crustaceans before they are tossed into boiling water. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An industrial farm affected by flooding from Hurricane Florence in Duplin County, N.C. Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals hide caption

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Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals