Some 30 refineries are in danger zone: A hurricane barreling toward Texas threatens to disrupt operations at refineries along the Gulf Coast, potentially throwing a wrench into fuel supplies and driving up prices. Severe flooding can cause refining units to shut down or even ignite fires. Two refineries in Corpus Christi have already closed by Thursday evening, according to Reuters. Roughly 30 refineries are scattered along the Texas coast to Louisiana. Combined, the refineries process an estimated 7 million barrels of oil every day to make gasoline, diesel and other products. And here’s what to do before Hurricane Harvey hits, according to the CDC. READ MORE


TSA reviews cargo screening procedures: The Transportation Security Administration is reviewing its screening procedures for cargo flown into and within the United States because of concerns that potential security vulnerabilities could be exploited by terrorists, a U.S. official told CNN. The review, which is examining screening for cargo carried by freight airlines and passenger planes, stems in part from a terror plot that was foiled in Australia last month, according to the official. Investigations revealed that a senior ISIS commander shipped partially assembled components of a bomb on a commercial cargo plane from Turkey to Australia, according to Australian law enforcement. READ MORE


Retailers partner with IBM to improve safety in food supply chain: Walmart and Kroger Co., two of the nation’s biggest retailers, are participating in a major blockchain collaboration with IBM Corp. and food companies to bolster consumer confidence in the global food system. IBM said Tuesday that is working with the consortium, which includes several other companies, to explore how IBM blockchain technology can be used to improve safety in the food supply chain. Serving as a digital, decentralized ledger, a blockchain keeps a record of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. The collaborative technology creates a trusted environment for participants to engage in transactions without the need for confirmation from a centralized third party. READ MORE

FDA completes sprouts review: Sprouts are especially vulnerable to pathogens given the warm, moist and nutrient-rich conditions needed to grow them. From 1996 to July 2016, there were 46 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States linked to sprouts. These outbreaks accounted for 2,474 illnesses, 187 hospitalizations and three deaths. The FDA has just completed a study on the sources of contamination, with some surprising results. READ MORE

FDA introduces software tool for building safety plans: The Food and Drug Administration has introduced Food Safety Plan Builder, a free software tool food and beverage manufacturers may use to develop food safety plans that are in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The software may be downloaded by visiting this page on the F.D.A.’s web site. READ MORE

Be careful in Mexico! The U.S. State Department has released an updated travel advisory for Mexico, expanding its warnings specifically about the regions that are home to some of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The agency cautioned U.S. citizens that homicide rates are on the rise in areas such as the states of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, and Baja California Sur, which is home to Los Cabos. READ MORE


FDA proposes new data measure: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is publishing a paper proposing the use of a biomass denominator to adjust annual data on the amount of antimicrobials sold or distributed for use in food-producing animals in the United States. This adjusted estimate will provide insight into broad shifts in the amount of antimicrobials sold for use in food-producing animals and give the agency a more nuanced view of why sales increase or decrease over time in a manner that is specific to U.S. animal production. READ MORE


Cattle prices declining: Current and expected fed cattle prices have declined by approximately $10/cwt over the past five weeks. This decline has eroded the projected profitability for feedlots through the rest of 2017. According to K-State’s Kansas Feedlot Net Return series, the projected net return for steers in Kansas feedyards was $136 per head for July closeouts. In fact, each month in 2017 has seen positive returns with some months in the late Spring showing more than $300 per head returns. The projections for the next nine months, however, are negative. August closeouts show projected losses of $31 per head while the projected loss for November is $169 per head. READ MORE