“Ask the wrong questions and you get answers that are correct and disastrous! Ask how massive monocultures of grains could trigger new strains of bacteria, viruses, insects that could wipe out whole crops meant to feed millions of people. When the natural system “senses” an imbalance in the ecosystem and a new means arises to rebalance the ecosystem.”
The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is not expected to end the highly polarized debate over the technology.
Source: Genetically Engineered Crops Are Safe, Analysis Finds – The New York Times
Cape Grim, on the remote north-western tip of Tasmania, is the only station analysing baseline carbon levels in the southern hemisphere. Scientists warned last week that the world’s cleanest air was nearing the 400ppm milestone. Lead scientist Paul Krummel, from the CSIRO, said the landmark CO2 figure was concerning. “It’s probably one of the last places on Earth to actually reach this milestone, and it just highlights the ever-increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere,” he said. The key impacts of carbon monoxide is warming the atmosphere and acidifying the oceans. “Globally, this is going to contribute to rising temperatures, which we are already seeing in the atmosphere,” Mr Krummel said. “It’s another milestone that we’ve reached where it’s indicating that the health of the planet is probably in trouble.” Mr Krummel said initial analysis last year predicted Cape Grim would not record such high measurements until June or July. “It’s certainly come earlier than I expected … most likely due to El Nino effects on the CO2,” he said. The El Nino weather pattern causes hotter and drier conditions, preventing the growth of plants that would suck up carbon dioxide. The Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station is operated by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. It measures the presence of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and ozone-depleting gases like aerosols. The station samples some of the cleanest air on the planet, derived from the Southern Ocean and unaffected by any nearby urban pollution. When measurements began in 1976, carbon dioxide levels were slightly more than 300 parts per million.
Source: Cape Grim carbon dioxide reading exceeds 400ppm landmark for first time – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Epidemiologic and lab evidence suggests the likely source of the outbreak is frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods, based in Pasco, Wash., and sold under different brands, the CDC said. Two patients reported buying and eating the same Organic Nature brand of frozen vegetables in the month before they got sick, and routine product sampling by the Ohio Department of Agriculture found Listeria in frozen organic sweet corn and green peas under the Meijer grocery store chain’s True Goodness brand, also produced by CRF Frozen Foods. Whole-genome sequencing showed that the Listeria strain in the frozen corn was closely related to seven Listeria isolates from sick patients, and Listeria from the frozen peas was closely related to an isolate from one of the people. Recall includes 358 products, 42 brands CRF recalled 11 of its frozen vegetable products on Apr 23, then expanded it on May 2 to include all of its organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed in its Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. The recalled products, packaged in plastic bags, are distributed nationally and in four Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
Source: Listeria linked to frozen vegetables sickens 8 in 3 states | CIDRAP
“Those whose ancestry derives from vegetarians are more likely to carry genetics that more rapidly metabolise plant fatty acids,” said Tom Brenna, Professor of Human Nutrition at Cornell.
Source: Long term vegetarian diet changes human DNA raising risk of cancer and heart disease – Telegraph
Perdue Foods LLC, a Gainesville, Ga. establishment, is recalling approximately 4,530 pounds of chicken nugget products (produced for Applegate Farms) that may be contaminated with extraneous plastic materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets were produced on Sept. 28, 2015. The following products are subject to recall: [View Label (PDF Only)] 8-oz. boxed packages containing approximately 18 pieces of “Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets” with Best Before Date 09/27/2016. The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-2617” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail distribution centers in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas. The problem was discovered when the establishment received consumer complaints of small, solid, clear plastic inside the Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets.
Source: Perdue Foods LLC, Recalls Chicken Nugget Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination
Laurent Poirel and colleagues in Switzerland have identified an E. coli strain, recovered from an 83-year-old Swiss man who was hospitalized last month, that possesses both colistin resistance and also VIM resistance to the carbapenems, the family of antibiotics that was considered the last and toughest before colistin. The colistin-resistance gene shared a plasmid with genes conferring resistance to chloramphenicol, flofenicol and co-trimoxazole. The authors warn, “Such accumulation of multidrug resistance traits may correspond to an ultimate step toward pandrug resistance.”Our data suggest that the advent of untreatable infections has already arrived.Marisa Haenni and collaborators in France and Switzerland queried the Resapath network in France, which conducts surveillance for antibiotic resistance in animals, found that 21 percent of bacterial samples collected from veal calves on French farms between 2005 and 2014 carried the signal of mobile colistin resistance, the gene mcr-1. There were 106 positive samples (out of 517) and they came from 94 different farm properties. On seven of those isolates, the mcr gene lived alongside ones for ESBL resistance—that’s to penicillins and to the first three generations of cephalosporin drugs—and also genes for resistance to sulfa drugs and tetracycline.
Source: Last-Ditch Resistance: More Countries, More Dire Results – Phenomena: Germination
A harrowing investigation into imported shrimp found at major retailers in the United States and Europe has exposed the brutal working conditions behind shrimp sold around the world. Victims of human trafficking in Thailand are subjected to inhumane conditions in so-called “peeling sheds,” forced to work in dangerous and often unsanitary conditions to pay off “debts” they accrued by brokers who sold them to shrimp manufacturing companies, reveals an investigation by the Associated Press. The cleaned, peeled and de-veined shrimp then found their way into grocery stores, restaurants and pet food brands in the United States and beyond.The victims of this abuse—often illegal immigrants promised a better life from their native countries of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia—are often forced to work from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m, peeling hundreds of pounds of shrimp each for $4 a day. Breaks are practically non-existent, as is any form of medical attention or protection from abusive managers; the victims also include children. There are reportedly hundreds of peeling sheds in Samut Sakhon outside of Bangkok, the largest area of shrimp production, many of which are little more than a crude garage without proper running water.
Source: Shrimp Peeled By Slave Labor Found At Whole Foods, Other Major Retailers: Gothamist
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — In a trailer park tucked among irrigated orchards that help make California’s San Joaquin Valley the richest farm region in the world, 16-year-old Giselle Alvarez, one of the few English-speakers in the community of farmworkers, puzzles over the notices posted on front doors: There’s a danger in their drinking water.Uranium, the notices warn, tests at a level considered unsafe by federal and state standards. The law requires the park’s owners to post the warnings. But they are awkwardly worded and in English, a language few of the park’s dozens of Spanish-speaking families can read.”It says you can drink the water – but if you drink the water over a period of time, you can get cancer,” said Alvarez, whose working-class family has no choice but keep drinking and cooking with the tainted tap water daily, as they have since Alvarez was just learning to walk. “They really don’t explain.”Uranium, the stuff of nuclear fuel for power plants and atom bombs, increasingly is showing in drinking water systems in major farming regions of the U.S. West – a naturally occurring but unexpected byproduct of irrigation, of drought, and of the overpumping of natural underground water reserves.An Associated Press investigation in California’s central farm valleys – along with the U.S. Central Plains, among the areas most affected – found authorities are doing little to inform the public at large of the growing risk.That includes the one out of four families on private wells in this farm valley who, unknowingly, are drinking dangerous amounts of uranium, researchers determined this year and last. Government authorities say long-term exposure to uranium can damage kidneys and raise cancer risks, and scientists say it can have other harmful effects.In this swath of farmland, roughly 250 miles long and encompassing major cities, up to one in 10 public water systems have raw drinking water with uranium levels that exceed federal and state safety standards, the U.S. Geological Survey has found.More broadly, nearly 2 million people in California’s Central Valley and in the U.S. Midwest live within a half-mile of groundwater containing uranium over the safety standards, University of Nebraska researchers said in a study published in September.Everything from state agencies to tiny rural schools are scrambling to deal with hundreds of tainted public wells – more regulated than private wells under safe-drinking-water laws.That includes water wells at the Westport Elementary School, where 450 children from rural families study outside the Central California farm hub of Modesto.At Westport’s playground, schoolchildren take a break from tether ball to sip from fountains marked with Spanish and English placards: “SAFE TO DRINK.”The school, which draws on its own wells for its drinking fountains, sinks and cafeteria, is one of about 10 water systems in the farm region that have installed uranium removal facilities in recent years. Prices range from $65,000 for the smallest system to the millions of dollars.Just off Westport’s playground, a school maintenance chief jangles the keys to the school’s treatment operation, locked in a shed the size of a garage. Inside, a system of tubes, dials and canisters resembling large scuba tanks removes up to a pound a year of uranium from the school’s wells.The uranium gleaned from the school’s well water and other Central California water systems is handled like the nuclear material it is – taken away by workers in masks, gloves and other protective garments, said Ron Dollar, a vice president at Water Remediation Technology, a Colorado-based firm.It is then processed into nuclear fuel for power plants, Dollar said.
Source: News from The Associated Press
“Over the next two to three decades millions of people will no longer be able to live and earn their livelihoods from farming and fishing as they are now,” said Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow with the Climate Change Group of the International Institute for Environment and Development.Conversely, prolonged droughts are affecting arable land by causing soil erosion and damaging crops that depend on predictable monsoon patterns.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates 20 million people will be displaced in Bangladesh in the coming five years. That is more than the cumulative populations of Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. And this should be very worrying.Even now, many of the half-a-million-plus people who move their families – along with their hopes – to Dhaka, are driven there by the effects of climate change.
Source: Climate Refugees and a Collapsing City | Inter Press Service
Bacteria like E.Coli have mutated to be resistant to our last-line of antibiotics and untreateable bugs may already be circulating in Britain, scientists have warned.Health experts have warned for years that antibiotic resistance could send medicine back to the dark ages, with even the smallest infections proving lethal.Currently, when all other drugs fail, doctors use polymyxins – such as colistin – as a last resort to treat bacterial infections like E.coli and those which cause pneumonia.
Source: E.coli has developed resistance to last-line of antibiotics, warn scientists – Telegraph