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This Week in Food News: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Photo by Anthony Neate

In this week’s food news roundup, an IHOP operator undergoes a federal investigation for a costly crime scheme, MIT students discover the solution to clogged ketchup bottles, an earthquake in Italy ruins millions of dollars in cheese, and more. Read below for the full scoop!

• The operator of six IHOP restaurants in Ohio is under investigation for a $3 million crime scheme. The restaurateur, Tarek Elkafrawi, has been accused of money laundering, mail fraud and identity theft, as well as hiring approximately 200 illegal immigrants. Elkafrawi and his team of accomplices made a $1.2 million profit by manipulating wages and underreporting income. It has also been revealed that Elkafrawi and a co-conspirator arranged for someone to set fire to one of their IHOP locations in 2008, leading to a $1.3 million fraudulent insurance claim. As of Wednesday, a total of 18 individuals involved in the scheme have been taken into custody.

• In Italy, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake claimed seven lives and cost the cheese sector a devastating $254 million in damages. According to the Coldiretti Italian farm lobby, 400,000 wheels of Parmesan and Grana Padano cheese collapsed from their aging racks, and sources have reported that 10 percent of Parmesan production has been impacted. Cheese factory workers have come together in a major recovery effort to salvage the fallen cheese. In some cases, workers have been able to finish the cheese’s aging process in another warehouse, or use partially damaged cheese wheels for “mixed cheese products or prepackaged foods.” Presently, civil protection crews are checking the quake’s damage to businesses, homes and other sites in preparation for restoration.

• In a recent study, researchers at the University of Michigan found that married men eat healthy foods at home to avoid conflict. The study found that men put up with healthy foods at home to “keep their wives happy… and maintain marital harmony.” The researchers found that the wives frequently made the decision-making when it came to food, and the husbands were rarely consulted. In turn, the men would compensate for their dissatisfied appetite by gorging on unhealthy foods outside the home. Professor Derek Griffith, the leader of the research team, weighed in with this advice to men: have a tactful conversation and reach a compromise. Menuism readers, who makes the meal decision-making in your household?

• In one of the week’s most talked about news stories, MIT has discovered the solution to dislodging ketchup from the bottle. PhD candidate Dave Smith, along with a team of engineers, found that the trick to keeping condiments from getting stuck inside of a bottle is a generous coating of LiquiGlide. Smith’s team invented the non-toxic lubricant and found that the coating “keeps condiments like ketchup, mayo and mustard from sticking to the sides of glass and plastic bottles.” Watch LiquiGlide in action:


Marisa Miyasaki loves to mix and match different cuisines and believes Korean Tacos are just about the coolest thing ever invented. She is a devout foodhist and has a borderline-crazy obsession with taking pictures of nearly everything she eats. As Menuism's Community Manager, Marisa hopes to share her passion for food with the world- one hungry foodie at a time.