The Italian wine grape harvest is having its earliest start in a decade due to the effects of the summer’s heatwave and drought. The Coldiretti agricultural lobby said Italian wine production is expected to be 10 percent to 15 percent lower than last year due to weather conditions, which included in some areas an early bloom followed by late frost, while violent hailstorms struck elsewhere. “There is no longer certainty on when to harvest,” said Claudio Faccoli, a winemaker whose label produces 55,000 bottles a year. “We need to keep an eye on the climatic situation.” READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Is there horse meat in that sausage? Canadian researchers found cross-species contamination of meat ingredients in 20 percent of sausage samples from grocery stores across the country, in a study funded by Canada’s food regulatory agency. They found that five out of 15 sausage packages listed as turkey were entirely chicken. Out of 27 beef sausage packages tested, seven samples also contained pork. Among 20 chicken sausage packages, four also contained turkey and one contained beef. And of the 38 pork sausage packages tested, two contained beef and one contained horse meat. READ MORE 

Pesticides, fertilizers cause ‘toxic waste dumps’: Pollution from illegal marijuana farms deep in California’s national forests is far worse than previously thought, and has turned thousands of acres into waste dumps so toxic that simply touching plants has landed law enforcement officers in the hospital. The volume of banned or restricted pesticides and illegally applied fertilizers in the woods dwarfs estimates by the U.S. Forest Service in 2014. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Investigation into egg contamination started weeks ago: Belgian food safety authorities began investigating possible pesticide contamination in eggs in early June, several weeks before the public was made aware of a food safety scare now affecting several European countries. Supermarkets have pulled millions of eggs from shelves after pesticide Fipronil was found in Dutch and Belgian poultry farms. READ MORE

Russian turkey meat contaminated with AI: The food quality control system in Russia was struck hard by a recent incident concerning turkey meat in stores all over the country, which was contaminated with the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. The incident appeared to be Rosselhoznadzor’s biggest failure, while the country’s entire food quality control system also failed. READ MORE

Botulism increase traced to dried fish: An increase in botulism cases has been reported in botulism, with the majority associated with home-prepared or commercially available dried fish. More than 75 cases have been reported in three months, with eight deaths. At the same time, cases of Salmonella have increased by 23 percent in the first half of the year, increasing from 373 to 454. Most cases are attributed to chicken eggs, broiler meat and related products.  READ MORE