• A "whole-system redesign" of U.S. agriculture

    Transformative changes in markets, policy, and science, rather than just incremental changes in farming practices and technology, will be critical if the United States is to achieve long-term sustainability in agriculture, according to a nationwide team of agriculturists that includes a University of California, Davis, animal scientist

  • U.S. agriculture escaped impacts of global warming -- for now

    Global warming is likely already taking a toll on world wheat and corn production, according to a new study led by Stanford University researchers, but the United States, Canada and northern Mexico have largely escaped the trend; the researchers found that global wheat production was 5.5 percent lower than it would have been had the climate remained stable, and global corn production was lower by almost 4 percent; Global rice and soybean production were not significantly affected

  • Risk of agroterrorism growing

    The United States imports so much of its food and food ingredients from other countries, that terrorists have many more opportunities to harm Americans and damage the U.S. economy; a high FDA official said that increased U.S. attention to the issue and questions over whether hostile actors have the technical capacity to mount such an attack notwithstanding, the likelihood of being poisoned by intentionally contaminated food is growing

  • Information sharing seen as public health "game changer"

    Public health officials are pushing for the creation of shared databases that contain electronic health records (EHRs) to help combat infectious diseases and stop epidemics; a CDC official pointed to the positive impact that electronic health information exchanges (HIE) have on public health; during the 2003 SARS outbreak, Milwaukee helped establish a four-state network that automatically detected new cases of SARS based on electronic reports from local hospital emergency rooms; manual reporting of test results is a slow process, but with the use of electronic reporting public health officials can now quickly identify epidemics and pandemics as they occur

  • Drug resistant salmonella found in recalled turkey burgers

    Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that investigators have determined that ground Jennie-O turkey burgers have been contaminated with a drug resistant strain of Salmonella; the infection from the contaminated burgers was first detected on 27 December 2010 and has infected twelve people in ten states; a recall has been issued for nearly twenty-seven tons of the infected burgers; the Hadar strain of Salmonella, is resistant to most antibiotics complicating treatment options and increasing the chances of hospitalization; CDC investigators say they are still examining the case and may issue further recalls on raw turkey products

  • UN warns of potential food crisis

    A UN Food and Agriculture Organization official warned that countries are not doing enough to increase food production to meet rising demand and that the world could be headed for a global food crisis; global food production must rise by 70 percent in order to meet the estimated demand for food; food prices have already soared in recent months and in 2010 food prices increased by 25 percent; rising prices sparked food riots in Egypt and Tunisia, which contributed to the overthrow of their governments; large disasters and droughts have significantly reduced crop yields across the world; as supply has fallen, demand has spiked due to population growth and increased use of food to manufacture biofuels

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  • Border agents intercept "destructive" Pakistani insects in Oakland

    The Khapra beetle, which is native to India, can eat its way through up to 70 percent of grain stores to which it has access; it was eradicated in the United States in 1966, and has been subject to federal quarantine since then; U.S. border agents in the Port of Oakland discover — and destroy — the larva in a shipment from Pakistan

  • Countries closely monitor Japanese food for radiation

    On Saturday, Japan announced that radiation was detected in spinach and milk produced near the Fukushima nuclear plant; the levels were low enough to not pose a long-term threat to human health, but they were above the national safety level, so the Japanese government has stopped sales of food products from near the damaged plant; countries importing food products from Japan are on alert

  • Climate change linked to food safety, cost

    Changing climate could make food more dangerous, add to the malnourishment of millions, and change even what we eat; for every degree the ambient temperature rises above 6 degrees Celsius — or 43 degrees F — temperature in an area, the occurrence of food-borne salmonella poisoning increases by 12 percent; drought can cause a loss in plant vigor, making plants more susceptible to disease; floods and heavy rains favor the growth of fungal pathogens on leaves, and many disease-causing organisms can spread in changing wind currents

  • Common clam to help clean oil-filled waters

    Clams are bottom-dwelling filter feeders, obtaining nutrients by filtering the water around them; researchers at Southeastern Louisiana University are studying the lowly Rangia clam to determine whether the organism can contribute to helping clean oil-polluted waters

  • Drought in China threatens wheat crop and send global prices soaring

    UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that a severe drought was threatening China’s wheat crop and could result in shortages of drinking water; analysts fear that wheat prices could soar even higher if China were to begin importing large quantities of food to feed more than a billion hungry mouths; wheat prices are already at record highs and have sparked food related protests around the world; surging prices are partially responsible for Egypt and Tunisia’s recent mass uprisings; China’s Shandong province, a major agricultural region, has only received fifteen percent of its normal rain levels; in dire terms Chinese state media reported that “land is drying out, and the crops are dying”

  • Curbing price speculation to prevent food riots

    Global food prices are hitting record highs in part due to environmental disasters and increased financial speculation; to secure food supplies and prevent riots, agriculture ministers are proposing regulations on agricultural speculation; world food prices rose 25 percent last year while the price of grain has soared 79 percent; in 2008 sharp increases in food prices sparked riots and political instability in thirty countries including Egypt and Haiti

  • Technology tracks produce from growth to delivery

    The new federal food safety bill has sparked a technology race among companies to provide simple electronic tracking systems for individual items of produce; the new law mandates that each part of the supply chain keep electronic records of where they received items from and where they shipped it to; this comes as a result of a large salmonella outbreak in 2008 that reached more than forty states and infected more than 1,300 people; poor records led to misidentification and slow recalls in that outbreak; every year 3,000 people die from food-borne illnesses while one in six people suffer from food poisoning

  • U.K. report warns of coming global food shortages

    By 2050 global food supplies will not be sufficient to feed an expanding population; the UN estimates that food production must rise by 70 percent to feed a world population of more than nine billion in 2050; rising demand and surging global population coupled with increasing resource conflicts over land, water, and energy will hamper food production; currently nearly a billion suffer from hunger and more than sixty food riots have occurred in more than thirty countries in the last several years; the report urges an immediate action and whole range of government solutions to adjust current policies on economics, climate change, resource use, and agricultural practices

  • Mystery of 200 dead Wisconsin cows solved

    Researchers find the cause of the mysterious deaths of 200 cows in Wisconsin: the sweet potato; the animals were killed by a poison found in spoiled sweet potatoes that were part of the cattle’s feed