Allison Aubrey

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News. Aubrey is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards nominee for her broadcast radio coverage of food and nutrition. And, along with her colleagues on The Salt, winner of a 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. Her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also host of the NPR video series Tiny Desk Kitchen.

Through her reporting Aubrey can focus on her curiosities about food and culture. She has investigated the nutritional, and taste, differences between grass fed and corn feed beef. Aubrey looked into the hype behind the claims of antioxidants in berries and the claim that honey is a cure-all for allergies.

In 2009, Aubrey was awarded both the American Society for Nutrition's Media Award for her reporting on food and nutrition. She was honored with the 2006 National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism in radio and earned a 2005 Medical Evidence Fellowship by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Knight Foundation. She was a 2009 Kaiser Media Fellow in focusing on health.

Joining NPR in 1998 as a general assignment reporter Aubrey spent five years covering environmental policy, as well as contributing to coverage of Washington, D.C., for NPR's National Desk.

Before coming to NPR, Aubrey was a reporter for PBS' NewsHour. She has worked in a variety of positions throughout the television industry.

Aubrey received her bachelor's of arts degree from Denison University in Granville, OH, and a master's of arts degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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The Salt
4:33 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Nutmeg Spice Has A Secret Story That Isn't So Nice

This copper engraving from approximately 1700 depicts the condition of the English prisoners at the hands of the Dutch. In the 1660s, Cornell University's Eric Tagliacozzo says, the conflict and competition for the spice trade came to a head. "The Dutch decapitated a number of English merchants who were also in the Spice Islands trying to profit from the trade."
WikiCommons

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 11:07 am

Ah, nutmeg! Whether it's sprinkled on eggnog, baked into spice cake or blended into a latte, this pungent spice can evoke memories of holidays past.

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The Salt
3:52 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

From Potatoes To Salty Fries In School: Congress Tweaks Food Rules

When it comes to salty french fries or pizza served at lunch, schools may get more time to dial back sodium content, thanks to a provision in the federal spending bill headed for a vote on Capitol Hill.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 9:00 am

The gargantuan budget bill that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are expected to vote on Thursday does more than dole out federal dollars to keep the government running.

It also tweaks federal nutrition rules.

For starters, the bill — aka, the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill — includes a provision that will give school food directors more flexibility when it comes to adopting 100 percent whole grain items, such as pasta and biscuits, in school breakfast and lunch meals.

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The Salt
2:17 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Venison As Benison: Food Banks Score From Deer Overpopulation

Ralph Roloff trims meat from a deer donated to the Help Us Stop Hunger program in State Center, Iowa in 2007.
Scott Olson Getty Images

White tailed deer are so common in Washington, D.C., that my kids barely take note, even if I have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting them.

But the National Park Service says there's a problem beyond the risk of driver-deer collisions, which lead to an estimated $4 billion in damages each year. The overabundance of deer are a threat to native vegetation.

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The Salt
4:49 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

A Burger Joint Pays $15 An Hour. And, Yes, It's Making Money

A worker at Moo Cluck Moo, a fast-casual burger and chicken chain in suburban Detroit, prepares a meal. Workers at Moo Cluck Moo all make $15 an hour.
Zachary Rosen for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 9:56 am

Fast-food workers rallied around the country Thursday, calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. But in suburban Detroit, a small but growing fast-casual burger and chicken chain has already figured out how to pay higher wages and still be profitable.

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The Salt
9:34 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Want A Calorie Count With That? FDA Issues New Rules For Restaurants

How many calories in that doughnut? A Starbucks coffee shop in New York City displays calorie information next to menu items. New FDA rules will require all chain restaurants and similar eating establishments to post calorie labels.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 3:33 pm

Soon, you may not be able to ignore how many calories are in the breakfast sandwich or doughnut you like to stop for in the morning.

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday will release new rules that will require chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to begin posting calorie information on their menus.

"Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home, and people today expect clear information about the products they consume," FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a statement.

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The Salt
4:41 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Moderate Drinker Or Alcoholic? Many Americans Fall In Between

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:49 am

A lot of us make the assumption that there are two kinds of drinkers: moderate drinkers who have a glass of wine with dinner, and on the other end of the spectrum, alcoholics.

But this is not an accurate picture, according to researchers.

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The Salt
3:12 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Culinary Institute's School For 'Foodpreneurs' To Cook Up Innovation

Revolution Foods makes healthy kids meals for both schools and stores. Co-founder Kristin Richmond says mentoring and support have been key to the success of her business.
Shelly Puri Courtesy of Revolution Foods

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 4:34 pm

The Culinary Institute of America may be best known for churning out chefs. And some of its graduates — from Grant Achatz to Roy Choi to Anthony Bourdain — have succeeded in entertaining and inspiring a new generation of foodies.

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The Salt
1:31 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Big Mayo Vs. Little Mayo: Which Brand Has Egg On Its Face?

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 12:03 pm

There have been no shortage of headlines recounting the legal kerfuffle unfolding over the definition of mayonnaise.

Global food giant Unilever, which owns the ubiquitous Hellmann's brand, is suing Hampton Creek, the maker of of Just Mayo, an egg-free spread made from peas, sorghum and other plants.

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The Salt
7:46 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Anthony Bourdain And Carla Hall Turbocharge D.C.'s Hunger Fighters

Celebrity chefs (from left) Jose Andres, Carla Hall and Anthony Bourdain rev up the crowd at last year's Capital Food Fight fundraising event for DC Central Kitchen. The nonprofit's fortunes have risen alongside those of its celebrity chef fans.
DC Central Kitchen Flickr

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 12:52 pm

If you're like me — I binged on an entire season of Parts Unknown during a single weekend — then you get the pull of globetrotting foodie Anthony Bourdain.

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

'Occupy The Farm': In Berkeley, The Revolution Will Be Irrigated

Peter Menchini

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 2:25 pm

In an open field on the northern edge of Berkeley, Calif., planting vegetables is the latest form of political insurrection.

On the morning of April 22, 2012, hundreds of people broke the lock on a fence surrounding the Gill Tract, a 14-acre plot of land owned by the University of California. They set about planting thousands of vegetable seedlings.

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The Salt
3:55 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

How Did Berkeley Pass A Soda Tax? Bloomberg's Cash Didn't Hurt

Berkeley's efforts to pass a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks faced opposition with deep pockets — but it also got sizable cash infusions from some big-name donors.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 8:47 am

It's no secret that the American Beverage Association spent a lot of money to defeat soda tax initiatives in California this election season.

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The Salt
2:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Cash For Halloween Candy? Dentists' Buyback Program Is Booming

Dr. Curtis Chan, a dentist in Del Mar, Calif., loads up a truck with 5,456 pounds of candy to deliver to Operation Gratitude during the Halloween Candy Buyback on Nov. 8 last year. Chan personally collected 3,542 pounds of candy from patients.
Courtesy of Curtis Chan

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 9:04 am

If your little ghosts and goblins dump their candy on the living room floor tonight, go ahead: Let them at it. They can sort, then trade, and gorge on their favorites.

But if you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you may want to get rid of some of this candy glut.

One possible solution? Check out the Halloween Candy Buyback program, which was founded by dentist Chris Kammer in Wisconsin. Kammer's office offers $1 a pound to buy back candy collected by the young trick-or-treaters in his practice.

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Shots - Health News
6:56 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Banned Drugs Still Turning Up In Weight-Loss Supplements

Even versions of Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen labeled "genuine" and "anti-counterfeit" have been found to contain the drug sibutramine, which was supposed to come off the U.S. market in 2010 for safety reasons.
Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 7:04 am

Americans spend about $4 billion a year on weight-loss supplements. And the Food and Drug Administration spends a lot of effort policing distributors who market fraudulent products that are tainted with unsafe, banned drugs.

But a study published Tuesday finds that buyers should beware: Just because the FDA recalls a product for containing dangerous substances doesn't mean the product disappears from the market.

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The Salt
3:00 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Reality Check: To Burn Off A Soda, You'll Have To Run 50 Minutes

Would you think twice about that 20-ounce soda if you were informed that it would take 5 miles of walking — or 50 minutes of running — to burn it off?
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 7:32 am

As a society, we don't pay much attention to nutrition information when we eat out.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report estimates just 8 percent of Americans use nutritional information when deciding what to order.

But that could change soon.

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Health Care
2:15 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

U.S. Hospitals Redouble Efforts To Prep For Ebola

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 2:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
1:19 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Restaurants Shave Calories Off New Menu Items

A sign displaying calorie counts is seen in a Subway restaurant in New York City in 2008. A yet-to-be-finalized federal rule requiring big chain restaurants to post calorie counts has likely led eateries to tweak their menus.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 10:22 am

Last month we reported that big food retailers have eliminated billions of calories from the packaged foods they sell in supermarkets.

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The Salt
1:45 am
Wed October 1, 2014

From Kale To Pale Ale, A Love Of Bitter May Be In Your Genes

The roots of your hankering for hoppy beers and cruciferous vegetables may be genetic.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 2:02 pm

The word bitter can make some of us wince. In conversation, we talk of "a bitter pill to swallow" or "bittersweet" memories.

But if you're puzzled by the bad emotional rap on bitter — perhaps you even like the taste of bitter greens or bitter beer — it may say something about your genes.

Scientists have been studying a particular taste receptor gene to understand why some of us may be more predisposed to liking bitter foods and hoppy beers. And a new study sheds new light on the bitter gene connection.

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat September 27, 2014

Culinary Diplomacy Takes Texan Chef To The Land Of Grilled Yak

As you may have heard, America's diplomats are struggling these days with a few distracting and unpleasant events in far-off parts of the world. But they're rising to the challenge: They're sending in the chefs.

The U.S. State Department launched a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership two years ago in order to "elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts." Some of the country's most renowned chefs have volunteered to help out, joining the department's "Chef Corps."

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Beyond Charity: Turning The Soup Kitchen Upside Down

A cooking class at DC Central Kitchen on Aug. 29, 2013.
Courtesy of DC Central Kitchen

If you've ever volunteered in a soup kitchen, you know the feeling of having served others.

But what about those on the other side of the food line? Are they getting what they need most?

Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, didn't think so.

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The Salt
9:14 am
Fri September 12, 2014

From Cotton Candy To Cat Pee: Decoding Tasting Notes In Honey

Honey can be as golden as the sun or as dark as molasses. Researchers have identified over 100 different flavors in it, too, some more savory or stinky than others.
Ellen Webber/NPR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:21 pm

If bees in France buzz around the lavender fields, foraging for nectar, what does the honey they produce smell or taste like?

Yes, a bit like lavender.

But not all the floral, spicy or woody aromas detectable in the roughly 300 varieties of honeys being produced today are so easy to name.

That's where the new Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel, developed by a sensory panel at the Honey and Pollination Center at the University of California, Davis, comes in.

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Shots - Health News
1:59 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Women Who Eat Fish Twice Weekly Cut Their Risk Of Hearing Loss

Researchers speculate that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish may help maintain good blood flow to the inner ear.
iStockphoto

Are you finding it tougher to follow conversations in a noisy restaurant? Or does it seem like people are mumbling when you speak with them?

These are two questions commonly used to screen for hearing loss, which affects more than one-third of people over age 65, according to the National Institutes of Health.

So, what to do to cut the risk?

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The Salt
5:50 am
Sat September 6, 2014

Better With Butter? Here's Why Americans Are Consuming More

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:24 pm

A growing number of Americans seem to believe that everything is better with butter.

"I love butter," says Ashleigh Armstrong, 29, as she sips coffee at a cafe in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. Among her favorites: "Anything from Julia Child's cookbooks."

There's no margarine in Ashleigh's refrigerator. "I'm not going to have the fake stuff," she says, adding that she'd rather indulge a little in rich foods and burn it off at a spinning class.

And no, she's not worried about cholesterol. That's her grandmother's generation's concern, she says.

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The Salt
1:29 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Grocers Lead Kids To Produce Aisle With Junk Food-Style Marketing

A kids healthy snacks display at Giant Eagle.
Courtesy of Giant Eagle

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 2:09 pm

Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average. And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.

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Goats and Soda
5:02 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Death By Salt? New Study Finds Too Much Sodium Is A Global Killer

Around the world, people consume too much salt. A new study estimates 1.65 million deaths a year are attributable to sodium intake.
Jung K Oh iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 12:15 pm

Americans are accustomed to being nagged about salt. We're told we consume too much — particularly from processed foods. And that all this salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

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The Salt
11:21 am
Fri July 11, 2014

If Exercise Feels Like Work, Mindless Snacking May Follow

In a recent study, participants who focused on the exercise of walking ate more M&M's than people who focused on music while walking.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 12:41 pm

If we hit the gym, don't we deserve a little extra something, maybe something sinfully sweet? The idea that sacrifice begets reward is embedded in our collective thinking.

But a fascinating new study from the folks at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab shows how this thinking might backfire. Thinking of exercise as work can lure us into mindlessly devouring calorie bombs, such as a big helping of pudding or extra handfuls of M&M's. And compensating for physical activity with sweet treats this way may lead to weight gain.

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The Salt
3:54 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Doughnut Day Downer: Palm Oil In Pastries Drives Deforestation

Doughnuts at a Krispy Kreme store in Washington, D.C. An environmental coalition says leading doughnut companies like Krispy Kreme source palm oil from suppliers who are clear-cutting rain forests and destroying wildlife habitat.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 5:29 pm

On National Doughnut Day, it's hard to imagine how our love of doughnuts might be contributing to deforestation halfway around the globe.

But here's the connection: You know that oily smudge left on your fingers after you polish off a doughnut? That's not just sugar. It's also palm oil.

The major doughnut retailers — from Dunkin' Donuts to Tim Hortons and Krispy Kreme — fry their sweet treats in palm oil, or in blends of oil that include palm oil.

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The Salt
2:31 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Companies Tap Celebrity Power For Extreme Vegetable Makeover

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:31 pm

Marketing to kids may have gotten a bad rap in the past. Especially since children have been the target of so much junk food advertising.

But it's a new day.

Increasingly, companies are seeing profits pushing ultra-healthy stuff. And they're not using a finger-wagging, guilt-ridden, eat-your-veggies-because-they're-good-for-you messaging.

Birds Eye is taking a page from the playbook of other companies that have had success leveraging the power of teen pop stars: The frozen food giant is turning to Disney.

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The Salt
6:41 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Eat Plants And Prosper: For Longevity, Go Easy On The Meat, Study Says

A new study linking animal protein-rich diets to increased mortality in middle age adds fuel to the controversy over how much protein — and from what sources — is ideal for health. One thing that seems pretty clear: It doesn't hurt to go heavy on the greens.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:49 pm

Americans who ate a diet rich in animal protein during middle age were significantly more likely to die from cancer and other causes, compared with people who reported going easy on foods such as red meat and cheese, fresh research suggests.

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The Salt
10:28 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Nutrition Labels To Get Long-Overdue Tweaks

Nutrition labels will be getting a makeover this week to make it easier for consumers to understand the information.
Larry Crowne AP

If you're perplexed about how to make healthy choices when you're shopping for food, you're not alone. We've all puzzled over a food label that was confusing and hard to follow.

But some help may be on the way, as I reported on All Things Considered Tuesday.

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Law
2:34 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New Food Label Aims To Make Healthy Decisions Easier

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

The Food and Drug Administration and the White House are expected to unveil a new food label this week. Changed just once since their adoption, these labels need to be less confusing, advocates say.

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