Elsa Partan

The Impossible Burger has put high tech meat alternatives on people’s plates and minds. But just how big could this emerging sector become? And how soon? A new analysis says it could make the cow all but obsolete in a matter of years.

Karish Kobal,

Cranberries are a staple on the American Thanksgiving table, but they used to be much more than a once-a-year novelty. They were a staple of Native American diets, and later, of early colonial diets.

The ways that cranberries have been grown and eaten have changed a lot over the centuries.


For years, the advice has been the same – for a healthy heart, eat less red meat. And then, two weeks ago, an international panel of scientists released a review of the science that they said overturned the prevailing wisdom. In fact, they said it was based on poor-quality science and that eating red meat didn’t make a significant difference.

Meat of the future might be quite different from meat of the past.
Stanley Kubrick, photographer / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZ6-2352., CC BY-ND
Pen Waggener / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

If you've ever had a urinary tract infection, somebody has probably told you to drink cranberry juice. The idea that cranberries have infection-fighting powers has been around a long time. Now, there's research to support it.

Scientists at McGill University have found that cranberry extracts make E. coli and bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections and pneumonia more susceptible to antibiotics.

You can make fish and chips using spiny dogfish, a common catch in our waters.
Matthias Meckel,

Dozens of species of fish and shellfish are caught in New England’s waters. But only a handful show up in most seafood retailers. You can probably list them: cod, haddock, scallops, clams, lobster.

Now, it’s not just anecdotal. A citizen science initiative has found that five species dominate at New England seafood counters and that some of the species that are most common out in the ocean are the rarest in our markets.

Want to reign in distracted snacking? Small, red plates or bowls that look larger than the area you fill with food could help. /

Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day of the year, topped only by Thanksgiving. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans eat more than 1.3 billion chicken wings. The rest of the menu tends to be similarly loaded with fats and carbs. And there’s a reason for that.

This week on Living Lab Radio:


The Hallmark version of Thanksgiving involves friends and family gathered around a beautifully set table for a delicious holiday meal, maybe sharing a bite of pie.

The fall armyworm spread to more than half the continent of Africa in a matter of months. It's the kind of threat that the Insect Allies program is is meant to combat.
FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

An international group of scientists and legal scholars are warning that a federal research program called Insect Allies could unintentionally lead to biological weapons.

The program funder, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), says the end goal is to improve agriculture by genetically modifying crops in the field using insects. But critics worry that it could easily be weaponized.

Fish croquettes that were grown in a lab, not in a fish. Likely the most expensive fish dish ever consumed.
Finless Foods

Soon, you may be able to eat hamburger that was grown in a Petri dish rather than on a cow.

In his book, Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, author Paul Shapiro details how start ups like Memphis Meats and Finless Foods are growing animal cells in the lab that are safe to eat.

Yuki A. Honjo

Cranberries are a billion-dollar industry in Massachusetts and employ more than 6,900 people. But the market is getting crowded, and that’s pushing down the price. Wisconsin has been the top grower in North America for years, where cranberry farms go back to the 1800’s. Quebec has only been growing cranberries for the last 20 years, but it surpassed Massachusetts in its cranberry harvest in 2014.

Why hasn’t Massachusetts kept up with the Wisconsin and Quebec?

Satya Murthy/flickr /

Biochemist Keri Colabroy thinks we could all be better cooks and healthier eaters, if we just learned a little bit of chemistry. That's why she teaches a kitchen chemistry course and a writing class about coffee (yeah, that's a thing) at Muhlenberg College.

The bacteria E. coli (here magnified 10,000-fold) are one of the best known inhabitants of the human gut.
Photo by Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley / USDA

The human microbiome. You may never have heard of it before now, but once you know about it, you’ll be hard pressed to stop thinking about it.

Healthy Eating

Jan 23, 2013

How to achieve your optimum weight by making sensible choices from what we eat to how we exercise. On The Point with Mindy Todd, registered dietician and nutritionist Pat Vasconcellos talks about eating healthy.