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This Week in Food News: Raw Eggs, Computerized Chefs, and More

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Photo by Duncan Callow

Photo by Duncan Callow

The year may be coming to a close, but we still haven’t seen the last of 2012’s craziest food news stories. This week, a former high school secretary was caught embezzling school funds to buy McDonald’s, scientists revealed plans for a computerized top chef, and a man died from excessive raw egg consumption. Read below for the full stories!

Kappry Vera, a former secretary for a New York City High School, was recently caught embezzling public funds in order to buy herself food from McDonald’s. The investigation started last August, when the school’s principal noticed “questionable purchases” on Vera’s city-funded credit card intended for official school purchases. While the investigation was underway, Vera resigned from her position as the school’s secretary. Investigators found that Vera charged more than $3,000 to the school card, including $765 on McDonald’s between October 2009 and May 2011. On top of that, Vera was also found guilty of charging $342 on Subway purchases and $190 on Burger King. The former secretary now faces a $9,000 fine, and is ineligible for rehire.

On Wednesday, a 20-year-old Tunisian man named Dhaou Fatnassi died after consuming 28 raw eggs. Fatnassi’s friends had dared him to swallow 28 raw eggs whole for an undisclosed amount of money. Not long after completing the dare, Fatnassi experienced stomach pains. While en route to the hospital, he passed away. We can only hope that this tragic turn of events discourages similar stunts in the future.

Computer scientists at IBM are inventing a computer that understands how humans think of new ideas, including novel recipes. Scientists are working to create a computer that can come up with recipes that “taste good and don’t add to our waistlines” by giving the computer access to a database of well-liked recipes. Using basic ideas from chemistry and psychology, the scientists have made predictions about what food pairings humans will find flavorful and different. Lav Varshney, a computer scientist at IBM, hopes that his team’s work will combat obesity by tapping into people’s food cravings in a healthier way. His team also hopes to create school lunch recipes that will appeal to more students. Could computerized chefs be the wave of the future?


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