Category Archives: Frankenfood

Gulf of Mexico dead zone is largest on record | Ars Technica

This year’s “dead zone,” where oxygen levels are so low they threaten fish and other small aquatic life, is about 50 percent larger than normal. The average size of the dead zone over the last 31 years has been 14,037 square kilometers, according to Nancy Rabalais, a researcher at Louisiana State University who has long studied the issue. The dead zone was likely even larger than what the scientists found, but there was insufficient time on board the ship to measure its entire extent.

Source: Gulf of Mexico dead zone is largest on record | Ars Technica

Trump’s pick for top USDA scientist isn’t one | Pesticide Action Network

Just who is Trump’s latest nominee then? Clovis is a conservative radio talk show host who was unsuccessful in a 2014 run for Senate in his native Iowa. He has no professional experience in food or agriculture, and is openly skeptical of climate change. He was co-chair of Trump’s campaign and has since been serving as the Department of Agriculture’s senior White House adviser.

Source: Trump’s pick for top USDA scientist isn’t one | Pesticide Action Network

Taylor Farms Recalls Chicken and Pork Salad Products Due To Possible Listeria Contamination

Two Taylor Farms establishments, located in Dallas, Texas and in Tracy, California, and headquartered in Salinas, California, are recalling approximately 6,630 pounds of chicken and pork salad products that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.The firms produced and packaged the products from Feb. 6-9, 2017.

Source: Taylor Farms Recalls Chicken and Pork Salad Products Due To Possible Listeria Contamination

Every Year 700 Million People Fall Ill from Contaminated Food | Inter Press Service – So who do you trust for food?

 

contaminated food that every year causes illness to 1 in 10 people around the world – or around 700 million – killing 420,000 people as a result.The leading United Nations body in the field of food agriculture has something to say on this. And it does: food availability and food hygiene are compromised every day by diseases and pests that plague plants and animals as well as various types of contaminants.“This happens on farms, in factories, at home, in fresh or sea water, in the open air and in the midst of dense forests,” warns the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).Whether in the form of pathogen, insect or contaminant, threats are now travelling faster and further, making effective and timely responses more difficult and putting people’s food supplies, their health and livelihoods, and often their lives at greater risk, it adds.Over 70 per cent of new diseases of humans have animal origin, with the potential of becoming major public health threats, FAO adds.

Source: Every Year 700 Million People Fall Ill from Contaminated Food | Inter Press Service

New, Aggressive Rust Imperils Wheat Crops in Europe, Africa, Asia | Inter Press Service

Wheat rust, a family of fungal diseases that can cause crop losses of up to 100 per cent in untreated susceptible wheat, is making further advances in Europe, Africa and Asia, according to two new studies produced by scientists in collaboration with the United Nations.

Source: New, Aggressive Rust Imperils Wheat Crops in Europe, Africa, Asia | Inter Press Service

Modern Benefits from Ancient Seeds: The Hunt for Wild Fava | Civil Eats

After considerable study, it turns out the seeds are wild ancestors of Vicia faba, commonly known as the fava bean. Fava is considered by the conservation organization Crop Trust to be one of the most important crops in some parts of the world. Fava’s health is a critical matter even in places where people don’t consume it very much: it’s the most effective natural nitrogen fixer known to agriculture.Nitrogen is essential to building nutrient-rich soil, but it’s quickly used up by cereal crops like wheat, which, when eaten in conjunction with fava and other legumes, provide an inexpensive, balanced diet to the world’s estimated 375 million vegetarians. Any crop’s wild ancestors hold important information about how to make modern domesticated varieties more resistant to disease, drought, and other devastating effects of climate change. But traces of a wild ancestor of Vicia faba, long presumed extinct, proved utterly elusive—until el-Wad.The six seeds, each measuring about 5 millimeters in length, were discovered by paleobotanist Valentina Caracuta; she published her findings in Scientific Reports this past November. Caracuta dug the seeds up from the earliest levels of an ongoing excavation of a Natufian habitation. The Natufians were a hunter-gatherer culture that inhabited the Levant (or eastern Mediterranean) from about 13,000 to 9,700 BCE.

Source: Modern Benefits from Ancient Seeds: The Hunt for Wild Fava | Civil Eats

When Your Healers Become Your Killers | Inter Press Service

There is a major though silent global threat to human and animal health, with implications for both food safety and food security and the economic well-being of millions of farming households. It is so-called anti-microbial resistance.The problems arises from the indiscriminate, excessive use of synthetic products, such as anti-microbial medicines, to kill diseases in the agricultural and food systems, which may be a major conduit of the anti-microbial resistance (AMR) that causes 700,000 human deaths each year and has the potential to raise this number to up to 10 million annually.AMR is a natural phenomenon of micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that are no longer sensitive to the effects of antimicrobial medicines, like antibiotics, that were previously effective in treating infections.Nevertheless, commercial practices meant to increase benefits have been leading to the dramatic fact that these drugs are more and more used to practically solely promote animal growth.

Source: When Your Healers Become Your Killers | Inter Press Service

White spot disease: prawn farmers say import ban too late | Australia news | The Guardian “Was it a Trump Company?”

A prawn importer suspected of deliberately evading biosecurity controls to bring infected produce into the country is expected to face criminal charges as authorities try to contain a white spot disease outbreak in Australia.But prawn producers say the indefinite import ban has come too late: the government’s own agricultural quarantine agency, Biosecurity Australia, warned six years ago that the risk of the disease being introduced to Australia by the importation of green (raw) prawns was high.

Source: White spot disease: prawn farmers say import ban too late | Australia news | The Guardian

H7N9 activity intensifies in China with 16 more cases | CIDRAP

Increasing H7N9 activity comes amid the lead-up to the Lunar New Year holiday, which comes with a travel surge and an increase in live-poultry transport and sales. Lunar New Year falls on Jan 28, and 2017 is the year of the rooster.H7N9 is endemic in Chinese poultry, and the MMWR report said tests on poultry samples by China’s agriculture ministry since April 2013 have found 233 positive samples from 16 provinces, all but 1 from live-poultry markets.Live-market closures were one of the key steps that slowed H7N9’s earlier waves, and three cities in Jiangsu province—Suzhou, Wuxi, and Changzhou—recently suspended live-poultry sales.New cases in 3 provincesGuangdong province health officials said in a monthly communicable disease report that 14 H7N9 cases were detected in December, 7 of them fatal, according to a report translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board. The report didn’t give any epidemiologic details, but 1 of the cases is thought to be an illness first reported in early December.

Source: H7N9 activity intensifies in China with 16 more cases | CIDRAP