2013: The year in food news

Updated 2:03 AM ET, Fri December 27, 2013
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2013 may go down in dining history as the year of the Cronut -- chef Dominique Ansel's doughnut-croissant hybrid that spawned block-wrapping lines and innumerable copycats around the globe. But that wasn't the only thing the food world cooked up this year. Here's a look back at the biggest stories of the past 12 months. Dominique Ansel Bakery
In February 2013, unadvertised horse meat showed up in Europe's food system -- including in IKEA meatballs -- leading many to wonder what inspection lapses had allowed this to happen. In the United States, aspiring slaughterhouse owners lobbied at the state level to allow horses -- which are usually shipped to Mexico and Canada -- to be processed in their facilities. Operations may commence as soon as early January. John Foxx
In March, New York City braced for a ban on the sales of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, due to a campaign by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, aimed at battling the city's obesity epidemic. The decision was thrown out even before it went into effect, after state judge Milton Tingle declared the measure "arbitrary and capricious." The American Beverage Association and other business associations originally filed the counter lawsuit, claiming, among other things, that the rules would disproportionately hurt small, minority-owned businesses. Mario Tama / Getty Images
From Paula Deen's fall from grace to Nigella Lawson's dirty laundry divorce, in 2013, celebrity chefs seemed to end up in the headlines more for their personal business than what happened in their kitchens.
About 1 million of the 1.4 million named animal species on Earth are insects, and they have the potential to fight malnutrition, said the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In May, the group's etnomophagy experts shared compelling evidence suggesting that increased intake of insects would promote health, wealth and a cleaner environment for both rural and urban communities around the globe. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
We're not lion -- some people are actually pretty stoked to eat Simba, and other taboo members of the animal kingdom. In May, a small south Tampa restaurant caused an uproar over a unique item offered on their menu: lion. For $35, a curious eater could sing their teeth into a taco made from the king of the jungle -- and the restaurant saw harsh reactions on social media, some going as far as making harmful threats. The item was eventually pulled, but not before Taco Fusion owners issued a statement saying in part: "In the name of freedom, in the name of rescuing a Lion, then why don't you cry out for Cows? Who decides which animals are worthy?"
Shenanigans! In June, a photo of a Wendy's working eating directly from a Frosty machine went viral, and a Taco Bell employee was pictured licking a stack of shells. The previous month, a delivery guy was caught on an elevator camera picking the toppings off a pizza, and a Houston Astros vendor was snapped leaving a tray of sno cones on the floor as he used a stadium rest room. Moral of these stories: whether it's a prank or just plain slobbishness, a picture is worth a thousand 'Ewwwwwwwwwwwws' -- and will probably lose you your job. Kat Kinsman/CNN
In July, several months after a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Wonder, Twinkies and other assets from the now-defunct Hostess Brands, the golden cakes made a grand return to store shelves with an advertising campaign calling it 'the sweetest comeback in forever.' According to CNN Money, a change in recipe extended the shelf-life of Twinkies to 45 days from their previous 26-day shelf-life. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images/file
In October, Taco Bell announced that it had reached a major milestone, passing the $1 billion mark in sales of its Doritos Locos Tacos. The hard-shelled, snack chip-flavored item proved so popular that in March, the company reported that it had hired 15,000 new employees just to keep up with the demand. Kat Kinsman/CNN
About 60% to 70% of processed foods contain laboratory-grown, genetically modified ingredients known as GMOs -- genetically modified organisms, and advocates say that consumers have the right to know if they're present in their food. GMO labeling is being considered in almost 30 states and in June, the USDA approved a non-GMO label for meat and liquid egg products. In November, Washington state, which is seen as the national testing ground on the issue of genetically modified foods, just narrowly failed to pass Initiative 522 which would make the labeling a requirement, but the fight is expected to continue across the nation in 2014. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Image
On November 1, cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits affected more than 47 million Americans who depend on the program to help meet their basic nutritional needs. The cuts took $36 a month out of the food budgets of a family of four, and demand for food bank supplies have soared as a result. A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau says that a record 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty in 2011, more than 1 in every 7 Americans. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In 2013, a waitress showed kindness to a young girl with autism. Several servers were supposedly shamed (and denied tips) by homophobic customer. A pastor refused to tip (and left a taunting note). Two military moms were kicked out of a cafe for letting their kids leave a mess and cashiers used racial slurs to identify customers (and printing them on receipts). All of this behavior -- the good, the bad and the just plain bizarre -- went viral on social media and started a national dialogue about the way we treat the people who serve us food. WABC
What do Beyonce, Jay-Z, Al Gore and Carrie Underwood all have in common (other than being famous and fabulously wealthy)? They all announced in 2013 that they were following a vegan diet -- at least part of the time. They're just some of the latest celebrities to adopt lifestyle habits that don't allow for the consumption or use of any animal products. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment/File
No Sriracha or wine? Commence hoarding! In November, a judge in Los Angeles County ordered hot sauce maker Huy Fong Foods to suspend operations at a plant in the city of Irwindale that local residents claim has caused an overpowering odor. In October, a possible global wine shortage was announced. People freaked out. Sarah LeTrent/CNN
In early November, the Food and Drug Administration took a first step toward potentially eliminating most trans fat from the food supply, saying it has made a preliminary determination that a major source of trans fats -- partially hydrogenated oils -- is no longer "generally recognized as safe." According to CNN Health, if the preliminary determination is finalized, partially hydrogenated oils will become food additives that could not be used in food without approval. Foods with unapproved additives cannot legally be sold.
If it seems food safety issues are on the rise, that's because they are. About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the CDC. In midst of the government shutdown, a major salmonella outbreak occurred, causing many to wonder about who exactly was looking out for their wellbeing. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced in early December that it hopes to tackle the issue, and regain the public's confidence, with the help of a new 'Salmonella Action Plan.' Jupiterimages