Contamination has been confirmed at more than three dozen military sites: Contamination from former or current military installations has ignited a nationwide review of water on or around bases that used a firefighting foam containing toxic chemicals. The military is now testing nearly 400 bases and has confirmed water contamination at or near more than three dozen, according to an analysis of data by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. The firefighting foam contained PFOA and PFOS, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that are unregulated and little understood but have been linked to health problems including testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol. Contamination has been found near 27 military bases in 16 states, according to the Air Force, Navy, and Army. Contamination is also being identified near airports, private plants, and fire stations. READ MORE

TERRORISM

Drought offers opportunity for jihadist group: Somalia is suffering from catastrophic drought after three consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, with some six million people facing dire prospects. Al Shabaab, the militant group that describes itself as “waging jihad against enemies of Islam” and that one time declared allegiant to Al-Qaeda, seeks to expand governance and control in Somalia by cultivating popular support through distributing humanitarian aid to vulnerable populations in rural Somalia, reports the website criticalthreats.org. Inadequate humanitarian response to address Somalia’s food shortages will create opportunities for Al Shabaab, the site notes.  READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Who gets hit with criminal prosecution? As the Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to prioritize prosecution against food companies that have been involved in recalls and foodborne illnesses, many  wonder how the department decides which companies to prosecute. The most notorious recent case was against the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). Food Safety Tech magazine reports that one of the reasons the DOJ went after PCA was because of its far-flung distribution and the fact that the illnesses and deaths were all over the country, according to Michael Blume, director of the consumer protection branch of the DOJ. READ MORE

Funky Fruit Loops and other weird recalls: Federal health officials are responsible for taking the reins when everything from bits of plastic to bat remains show up in the foods we chow down on every day. Some of those recalls are run through the Food and Drug Administration, and others come down from the US Department of Agriculture. Those recalls can range from peculiar to downright baffling. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Is ‘superfood’ just a marketing term? Someone could not subsist on the current conception of “superfoods” (like the highly touted kale), so how “super” are they really? A truer superfood, one which provides almost everything the body needs, is the humble potato. Packed with starch, fiber, and protein, as well as a plethora of vitamins and minerals, it may be the most complete food on the planet. READ MORE

The importance of dairy exports: It’s hard to understate the anguish caused in the kitchens and milking barns of the 75 patrons of Grassland Dairy Products in Wisconsin. Grassland gave patrons 30 days’ notice it would no longer accept their milk because Canada announced it would no longer accept ultra-filtered milk products May 1. With no market for the milk, and facing annual losses reportedly at $100 million, Grassland cut off those patrons whose milk it could not market. The fiasco with Grassland is prima facie evidence of the importance of dairy exports to the health, well-being, and even survival of the U.S. dairy industry, writes Jim Dickrell in Dairy Herd Management. READ MORE