It could potentially be a very bad Monday for Starbucks lovers with a nut allergy: The company is recalling its fruit and nut boxes from Washington State stores due to some "undeclared cashews" that may have snuck in with the almonds. Customers can return them for a full refund, though people who aren't allergic to cashews should be just fine.
In other, non-allergic reaction triggering news today: The people of Flint, Michigan are fighting for higher fast-food wages; McDonald's in South Korea is getting awfully fancy; Rwanda is trying to convince its citizens to pick up a caffeine habit; prison food in Italy is actually really good; and in Poland, milk bars are an endangered restaurant species.
— Presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle are visiting Flint, Michigan for their respective debates, and the city's workers are seizing the opportunity to demand $15 an hour. Fast-food workers staged walkouts on Thursday to protest outside the GOP debate, and they'll do the same for Sunday's Democratic debate. Flint's much-publicized water contamination crisis is just one of the problem it faces: "We're going on strike and rallying outside the presidential debates because the politicians who are failing the people of Flint are too similar to the billion dollar companies like Yum!, which owns Taco Bell and pays its CEO more than 37 million a year while locking us workers in poverty," writes a Taco Bell employee named Tyrone Stitt.
— Rwanda exports millions of pounds of coffee beans each year, but most of its own citizens don't drink it. Since the coffee has to be exported for roasting and then re-imported, a cup runs about $3, which most people simply can't afford. But now the government is trying to persuade its growing middle-class to start drinking it as a way to help strengthen its economy. Could there be a future for Starbucks in Rwanda?
— In Italy, saying something tastes like prison food can actually be considered a compliment. A medium-security prison in Milan is home to a sophisticated restaurant that's earning high marks from diners and critics for both its food and its daring concept. Inmates who work in the restaurant can earn more than $1,000 a month, which sure beats the pennies per hour U.S. prison laborers are paid.
— Why is McDonald's in South Korea so much cooler than what we get in the States? One store just started serving beer, and now the company will deliver French macarons to customers' doors as part of its McDelivery service. What is the proper name for McDonald's macarons, anyway — McMacarons? McArons?
— Poland's milk bars are dying out. A holdover from the nation's Communist days, the state-subsidized cafeterias provide rib-sticking meals like perogi and borscht at bargain-basement prices all citizens can afford. But as the country's growing economy provides a market for independent restaurants and foreign fast food companies, milk bars are closing in droves and the government is cutting funding. Will low-income Poles be forced to resort to fast food instead?