Attackers may be searching for vulnerabilities: Hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former U.S. officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid. The intruders could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation’s power supply, warned the officials, who noted that a general alert was distributed to utilities a week ago. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Big Food is in big trouble: For over a century, brands such as Kellogg’s cereal, Campbell’s soup and Aunt Jemima pancake mix filled pantries of American households that wanted safe, affordable and convenient food. They provided companies with reliable revenue growth from grocery shelves, and there was little reason to mess with that formula. Today, these giants are struggling with competition that is corroding business from both ends. High-end consumers are shifting toward fresher items with fewer processed ingredients while cost-conscious shoppers are buying inexpensive store brands. READ MORE

Food and mouth disease a likely agent for agro-terrorists: Livestock producers  have a new resource to combat foot and mouth disease (FMD) with the signing of the “Securing our Agriculture and Food Act” into law. FMD is the most commonly mentioned disease in discussions about agroterrorism because it spreads rapidly and has potential to cause great economic damage. The disease is 20 times more infectious than smallpox and could be spread by agroterrorists without the hassle of protective gear, because it doesn’t infect humans. Economic losses from an FMD outbreak could add up to $188 billion. READ MORE

Farmers, restaurant chains turn to probiotics: Danish food ingredients maker Chr. Hansen is seeing strong demand for probiotics for animals as farmers and restaurant chains come under growing pressure to use fewer antibiotics in the food chain, its chief executive told Reuters. Scientists warn the routine use of antibiotics in animals is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” posing a major threat to human health. READ MORE

Why do consumers reject science? Few dairy processors today will accept milk produced with recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), a protein produced through biotechnology. The decades-old technology helps dairymen produce more milk with less inputs, reducing dairy’s carbon footprint. Yet, the use of the rBST technology will fade into history, says Dairy Herd Management editor Jim Dickrell says, “driven there by ignorance, misinformation and fear.” READ MORE  

FOR FUN

Robot boosts pizza sales—in Pakistan: The owners of a pizza shop in Pakistan say business is booming now that they’ve introduced a robot waitress. Osama Jafri, the engineer who designed the 25-kilogram (55-pound) robot, says it can greet customers and carry pizzas to their tables. The robot resembles a short, slender woman wearing a long dress and apron. He says he wrapped a scarf around the robot’s neck so as not to offend conservative patrons. READ MORE