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Serafina Goes to South Beach; Pepsi Goes Raw

Serafina, which has six Manhattan locations, will open an outpost in Miami’s W South Beach Hotel in mid-2009. [NYP] In a move that surprises no one, the beef industry is trying to convince the FDA to scale back the largest recall in history. [WSJ] Speaking of that bad beef, the federal government bought 50 million pounds of it, 20 million of which has already been consumed in various federal nutrition programs. [NYT]

Freedom Tower Seeks Restaurant Developer; Le Cirque Does Restaurant Week All Month

Starting today, the Port Authority is accepting early bids from developers for control of a two-story restaurant atop the Freedom Tower, with a grand opening slated for early 2013. [The Real Estate/NYO] More bad news about the FDA: It’s “so understaffed that, at its current pace, the agency would need at least 27 years to inspect every foreign medical device plant that exports to the United States, 13 years to check every foreign drug plant and 1,900 years to examine every foreign food plant.” [NYT] Le Cirque’s Restaurant Week menus are such a hit that the Maccioni clan is going to make them available every weekday in February. [Zagat]

FDA to Beef Industry: Send in the Clones

The FDA is expected to declare meat and milk from cloned livestock safe to eat next week. So far, media coverage has been hilarious. Whole Foods has already issued a statement that includes our favorite new phrase: “Whole Foods Market is committed to providing consumers with clone-free products.” And the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, penned this gem: “The meat industry is more bullish on cloned products than the dairy industry.”

Let No Scone Go Unclotted

Tea and Sympathy
Are we in the midst of a clotted-cream crisis? Nicky Perry, owner of Tea & Sympathy, believes so. She just learned from her supplier, Epicure, that an entire shipping container of clotted cream — made from unpasteurized milk and used in baked goods — was destroyed by the FDA a few weeks ago. The reason: more foot-and-mouth disease in the U.K. She panicked. “Help!” she wrote back to friends in England. “What’s happening?”

Great American Chef Sick; New Yorkers Enjoy Too Much Mercury

Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea, arguably the most acclaimed of all American chefs, has an advanced form of cancer but vows to beat it. [Chicago Sun-Times] A quarter of New Yorkers have elevated mercury levels in their bloodstreams. Especially those who eat fish. [NYP] It’s tough for Top Chef rivals Howie and Joey. When your life has turned into a paella whipped up by Philip K. Dick and Andrew Sullivan, it's time to move to the suburbs with a pair of chocolate Labs. [Amuse Biatch] Related: ‘Top Chef’’s Howie Tastes the Big Time, Briefly, at Gotham Bar and Grill ‘Top Chef’ Biases Finally Out on the Table

Ramsay Busted for More TV Fakery; Yes, the Google Cafeteria Is Awesome

Gordon Ramsay has been busted for new TV fakery — in this case pretending that three fish caught by someone else had been taken by him while spearfishing. [London Times] The Google employee cafeteria is apparently even better than rumored, with a raw bar, seviche station, 50 different small farm suppliers, and even a Chef’s Wall of Fame. [Food & Wine] Want to impress your posse by paying $90 for a bottle of water? Bling H20 is conspicuous consumption in a bottle. [NYDN] Related: We’ll Have Your Finest Bottle of Water…

Drop That Shrimp! FDA Announces Major Seafood Alert

When the FDA puts out an alert on a country’s exports to America, we sit up and take notice. When the country is China, and the exports include shrimp, catfish, and three other fish, we begin to feel more than a little anxious. The FDA is not allowing five kinds of seafood in unless they’re found free of carcinogens and antibiotics. About four-fifths of the seafood eaten in America is imported, and China is one of the main suppliers, so unless you are subsisting wholly on Esca’s porgy or Suba’s clams, chances are you’re eating Chinese seafood fairly often. The FDA has hastened to reassure Americans that there is, as they tell the New York Times, “no imminent danger to human health, but … prolonged consumption could cause health problems.” F.D.A. Issues Alert on Chinese Seafood [NYT]

‘Top Chef’ Talbot Out at Spitzer’s Corner; FDA Too Weak Even for Industry

Top Chef runner-up Sam Talbot is out at what was to be his debut restaurant, Spitzer’s Corner. [Eater] The FDA is facing increasing ire about its having largely abdicated its regulatory role. Even the produce industry wants the agency to do its job; suppliers are “virtually begging for stronger intervention.” [NYT] Salsa mogul gives the Culinary Institute of America $35 million to advance the careers of Latin cooks and kitchen workers and to “deepen the United States’ relationship with food from Latin America.” [NYT]

Gordon Ramsay Attacks; Bush Fails Eaters

Gordon Ramsay lays into Marco Pierre White, Frank Bruni, and Big Macs in this wide-ranging interview, which ends with this complaint: “I’m being judged on my persona as opposed to my food, and you know what? Fuck it.” [The Independent] Morgan Stanley and other firms won’t let their executives entertain clients or expense lunch at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone because it’s too much like a strip club. “We are a totally misunderstood restaurant,” claims the owner. [NYP] Less than 10 percent of food imported to the U.S. is even examined by the FDA, which is “woefully understaffed and underfinanced” by the Bush administration. [NYT]