Food Safety News explains that the Internet of Things, aka, IoT, is the connection of one computing device to the internet, which may interconnect to another computing device and exchange information. For the average Joe consumer, this represents enormous opportunity— turning a car on with the tap of a cell phone or receiving an alert when his washing machine rocks out of balance while he’s out of the house. For the food industry, IoT means an efficient way to track food safety data points with things like real-time temperature tracking throughout the entire harvest-to-grocery-checkout process, storing information in a central location for analysis. As we’ve warned before, however, the IoT also represents tremendous opportunity for hackers. READ MORE

TERRORISM

Gangs said to be recruiting as young as grade school: Gangs are recruiting members as young as fifth grade in the northern Virginia area, says the director of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. The gang-related killing of a 15-year-old girl  has renewed concern about the violent street gang MS-13 (also known as Maratrucha Salva), which has its roots in El Salvador. The irony is that many Latino immigrants in the U.S. are seeking to escape MS-13, one of two gangs now virtually ruling El Salvador. MS-13  evolved on the streets of Los Angeles during the 1980s, and most members were children of Salvadorans who fled the country’s civil war. In the 1990s deportations removed the gang members to El Salvador, where many had never lived. In that country, poor children as young as 10 are forced to join a gang or face retribution. Almost every business is required to pay la renta, or protection money. Many Salvadorans see no alternative but to flee to the U.S.. Read more HERE and HERE.

The damage a VBEID can do: As we’ve warned, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBEID) could be deployed in the U.S. For example, a car bomb in a busy Mogadishu, Somalia, marketplace killed 34 people this weekend. The powerful explosion was the first major attack since Somalia’s new president was elected on Feb.8. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility, the attack bears the hallmarks of Somalia’s Islamic extremists rebels, al-Shabab, which denounced the new president as an “apostate.” READ MORE

The latest on ISIS offensive: Iraqi forces launched an offensive Sunday on jihadists defending Mosul’s west bank, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the country’s second city. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed Mosul part of a “caliphate” in 2014. Residents of west Mosul have reported very difficult living conditions and warned that they were already low on food, with weeks of fighting expected to lie ahead. Save the Children urged all parties to protect the estimated 350,000 children currently trapped in west Mosul. “This is the grim choice for children in western Mosul right now: bombs, crossfire and hunger if they stay—or execution and snipers if they try to run,” said the charity’s Iraq director, Maurizio Crivallero. As ISIS so-called caliphate shrinks, would-be ISIS fighters are being urged to stay in their home countries and carry out “lone wolf” attacks.  READ MORE

PROCESS SECURITY

FDA confirms dog-food adulteration: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday released the results of a month-long investigation of Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co., its production facility in Wheeling, IL, and the Nutripack LLC, facility in Markham, IL Nutripack is owned by Brett Sher, son of Joel and Holly Sher, who own Evanger’s and is listed as manager of the Nutripack operation. The FDA report confirmed the presence of pentobarbital, which is used in euthanizing pets, in some of the pet food from the two companies, but gave no indication of the source. The FDA report did document numerous problems at the production facility. READ MORE

Alcohol poisoning: Methanol-tainted alcohol is the cause behind a mass food poisoning killing seven people and hospitalizing 31 others in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau earlier this week, the Vietnam Food Administration under the Ministry of Health said last week. Methanol toxicity initially lacks severe toxic manifestations; toxic metabolites cause fatality only after a characteristic latent period, explains promedmail.org, a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. Methanol is a part of many commercial industrial solvents and of adulterated alcoholic beverages or is mistaken as being the same as alcohol for ingestion. Methanol toxicity remains a common problem in many parts of the developing world, especially among members of lower socioeconomic classes. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

No seizures or injunctions in FSIS report: USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) completed the first quarter of the federal fiscal year without major use of either the civil or criminal courts, which is a bit unusual. The FSIS quarterly enforcement report for the three month period ending Dec. 31, 2016, shows no seizures or injunctions or other major civil actions and nothing on the criminal front. READ MORE