Bribery can be very bad for business: In a dramatic example of why food companies can never be too careful about contamination, Brazil saw its meat exports effectively collapse this week in the wake of a meat inspection scandal. Brazil is struggling to contain the scandal, in which investigators say that health inspectors were bribed to overlook expired meats and chemicals and that other products were added to meat to improve its appearance and smell. The result has been a stampede away from Brazilian exports. According to meatingplace.com, Brazilian meat exports fell sharply on Tuesday to $74,000, compared with a daily average of $63 million before the announcement of the investigations Friday, said Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi during a hearing in the Senate. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, none of the slaughter or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal have shipped meat products to the United States. Nevertheless, FSIS has instituted additional pathogen testing of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil and has increased its examination of all these products at ports-of-entry across the country. The agency will indefinitely maintain its 100 percent re-inspection and pathogen testing of all FSIS-regulated products imported from Brazil. Read more HERE and HERE.
A race with time to repair damaged spillway: California officials are courting a “very significant risk” if a damaged spillway on the nation’s tallest dam is not operational by the next rainy season, and the state’s plan leaves no time for any delays, a team of safety experts has warned in a report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. Crews working to repair a crippled spillway on the Lake Oroville dam will be racing the clock to have the structure in good enough shape to be used for flood control by next fall, according to the report prepared by an independent team of consultants and submitted to federal officials last week. The Oroville Lake in northern California is the linchpin of California’s government-run water delivery system, sending water from the Sierra Nevada for agriculture in the fertile Central Valley and for residents and businesses in Southern California. The negative effect of a dam failure on the U.S. economy would be dramatic. California’s Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, providing more than half of the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States.Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. READ MORE
ANIMAL FEED SAFETY
Evanger’s v.p. blames pentobarbital in dog food on euthanized beef: Joel Sher, the vice president of family-owned Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company in Illinois says a now-former supplier apparently sent his company beef from at least one cow that had been euthanized with pentobarbital. Evanger’s was subject to an FDA recall after several pet pugs in Washington state showed signs of acute neurologic illness after sharing a can of Hunk of Beef Au Jus dog food. One of the pets died during the incident, which happened in late December 2016. An FDA investigation led to voluntary recalls for three products in February and March. Sher said he wants to see regulatory changes that would increase meat suppliers’ responsibility for preventing contamination of animal foods with pentobarbital and other euthanasia chemicals. He would like to see federal requirements for clear markings on animal carcasses following euthanasia as well as a prohibition on use of those carcasses in any animal foods. READ MORE
Bird flu has led to euthanizing of more than 200,000 birds: A bird flu outbreak has led officials to euthanize more than 200,000 animals in three Southern states and new cases are still popping up, an Auburn University expert told the Associated Press Wednesday. Agriculture officials are trying to limit the damage, but it’s unclear whether quarantines, transportation bans and mass killings will stop the spread, said Joseph Hess, an AU poultry science professor. The disease was first confirmed in southern Tennessee earlier this month and has since been detected in northern Alabama and western Kentucky. Federal and state authorities say a case of low pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a commercial poultry flock in western Kentucky’s Christian County. Although the birds showed no clinical signs of disease, the premises are under quarantine, and the flock of approximately 22,000 hens was depopulated. Read more HERE and HERE.
Al Qaeda has developed compact battery bombs: Three intelligence sources told The Daily Beast that the ban on carry-on electronics aboard U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East was the result of information seized during a U.S. raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen in January. The United Kingdom joined the U.S. ban Tuesday. Information from the raid shows al Qaeda’s successful development of compact, battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices believed to be strong enough to bring down an aircraft, the sources said. The battery bombs would need to be manually triggered, a source explained, which is why the electronics ban is only for the aircraft cabin not checked luggage. READ MORE