On the last Friday of each month, Food Manufacturing looks back at the most surprising or unusual food-related stories of the month. Here are our top picks for this February:

  1. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina discuss the development of lab-grown meat. The designer meat will be produced in "carneries" and, scientists say, could reduce instances of foodborne illness while mitigating the environmental footprint of meat products. The trick, of course, will be convincing consumers to eat beef cultured in a petri dish.
  2. Socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took on Coca-Cola this month, backing workers at a production facility in the country. Workers were angry and striking over what they called "exploitation," and Chavez entered the fray saying, "If Coca-Cola doesn't want to comply with the constitution and laws, well, one can live without Coca-Cola." Shortly after his statements, Coca-Cola gave in to labor demands, increasing salaries among workers.
  3. A Massachusetts man figures out how to "save the earth, one beer at a time" by creating a self-renewing beer. His process turns brewery waste into natural gas which the fuels the brewery process.
  4. Public Radio International's flagship program This American Life claims to have revealed Coca-Cola's long-hidden secret formula and has posted the recipe to its website, which crashed earlier this month after a giant surge in traffic.
  5. Russians have decided to stop treating beer like a "foodstuff," and will classify it as alcohol for the first time.
  6. Frito Lay has introduced a new ear-friendly compostable bag. The company is surely hoping this version goes over better than the last one.

What crazy/funny/unexpected stories have you been following this month? Let me know at