Brownie dessert may be contaminated with Salmonella: The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is alerting consumers that the brownie mix dessert included in the breaded chicken nugget meal trays produced by Conagra Brands Inc. of Marshall, Mo., may be contaminated with Salmonella. The meals are sold under the Banquet brand name. The alert, which affects more than a hundred thousand pounds of frozen meals, was issued out of an “abundance of caution” after Conagra received notification from a supplier that an ingredient used in the brownie mix might be contaminated with the pathogen. The supplier has not been unidentified, and it is unknown if the ingredient was supplied to other companies. READ MORE

Another dog food recall: Two varieties of Party Animal canned dog food may have been contaminated with pentobarbital, according to a test report from Texas A&M University released this week. The report was provided to the blog Truth About Pet Food by a consumer who arranged for the testing after a family pet became ill. The test report has been supplied to the Food and Drug Administration. Illinois-based Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co. was the manufacturer/co-packer for the dog food.   Evanger’s was subject to an FDA recall after some of its dog food was found to be contaminated after an incident in late December 2016. The company says a now-former supplier apparently sent his company beef from at least one cow that had been euthanized with pentobarbital.  READ MORE

Vietnamese fish exporter warned about scombroid fish: Ba Hai Company Ltd., one of Vietnam’s largest fish exporters, has received a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after FDA inspectors inspected the Crystal Cove Seafood Corp. in Floral Park, N.Y., in October to assess compliance by the company with U.S. seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. Crystal Cove was importing various fish and fishery products from a facility in Vietnam owned by Ba Hai. FDA said Ba Hai’s HACCP plan for scombroid species of fish contains ‘serious deviations’ from requirements, enough so that its frozen scombroid species of fish were considered contaminated. Scombroid fish poisoning is a toxic reaction to decomposing scombroid fish, such as mackerel, tuna, bonito, kahawai and butterfly kingfish. READ MORE

Norovirus outbreak traced to Jimmy John’s: The Marathon County Health Department in Wisconsin is investigating some 100 cases of norovirus apparently connected to a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop unit in Weston, located in the north-central part of the state. The department said it wouldn’t know exactly what caused the outbreak until a full report is complete in June. Norovirus is usually transmitted by an employee who has been negligent in hand washing after using the bathroom. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

Questionable decisions made during dam crisis: An Associated Press examination has revealed federal and state managers made a series of questionable decisions before and during a recent crisis at America’s tallest dam, Oroville Dam in northern California. For nearly a week in February, dam managers assured the public there was no immediate danger after a massive crack opened in the main concrete chute that carries water from the dam. Then, a backup spillway began breaking apart, and nearly 200,000 people were suddenly ordered to evacuate. READ MORE

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

States are unequal in emergency preparedness: An annual assessment of the nation’s preparedness for managing community health emergencies showed that deep regional inequities remain between states, although there has been slight improvement over last year. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2017 National Health Security Preparedness Index found that despite improvements in nearly two-thirds of states, there are significant inequities in preparedness. A gap of 32 percent separates the highest state (Vermont, 7.8) and the lowest state (Alaska, 5.9). Generally, states in the Deep South and Mountain West regions lag behind Northeast and Pacific Coast states. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SECURITY

‘Embarrassing video’ led to employee shooting: Police investigating a shooting at the Pepsi Cola Distribution facility in Stowe Township, Pa., now say an embarrassing video on Snapchat sparked an argument between co-workers that ended in gunfire. Michael Harris, 29, of McKees Rocks, Pa., has been charged with aggravated assault and other counts after allegedly shooting that co-worker in the leg on Monday afternoon. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Waste not, want not: In the past three years there has been an explosion in the number of start-ups making products from food waste, according to a new industry census by the nonprofit coalition ReFED. ReFED now logs 64 established companies selling ugly-fruit jam, stale-bread beer, and other “upcycled” food products. Product include flour milled from discarded coffee fruit, chips made from juice pulp, and vodka distilled from strawberries that nobody seems to want. READ MORE