Flooding will disrupt wheat shipments: Torrential rain from Hurricane Harvey is wreaking havoc on the largest U.S. cotton producer, hitting Texas at a time when many farmers are storing excess supplies on fields following a bumper harvest. The cotton that was not swept away by the storm may have suffered damage or be too wet to gin. In addition, grain elevators suspended shipments earlier this week as port facilities braced for flooding, storm surges and possible power outages. Flooding also will disrupt wheat shipments through ports in Houston and Corpus Christi. While most of the state’s wheat-growing areas will not be impacted by the rain, cotton, soybean and corn producers further south will probably suffer damage. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

Should we expect a ‘cyber 9/11’? It’s likely only a matter of time before a major cyber attack hits U.S. civilian infrastructure, but the nature of that digital violation and the means to respond remain uncertain, as many of the most sensitive systems operate under private sector control. There is a “narrow and fleeting window of opportunity before a watershed, 9/11-level cyber attack” against U.S. critical infrastructure, warned a new report issued last week by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

More concerns emerge with Houston flooding: Dr. Phil Huang, medical director and health authority for Austin Public Health in the state capital, says that in the days ahead safety concerns could include carbon monoxide poisoning in households using generators; the consumption of contaminated food stored without refrigeration; and injuries suffered when people try to get back to their homes. Longer term, he says, mold will be an issue. READ MORE

If the power goes out, when to toss your food: If the power goes out, we all face the same dilemma: How long can we still eat the food in the refrigerator or freezer, and what should we keep or pitch after the power comes back on? According to FoodSafety.gov, most food should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 F for over two hours. READ MORE

Another California dairy cleared for retail sales of raw milk: A sixth dairy is now bottling raw milk for the retail market in California. Add Duivenvoorden Farms of Shasta County to such names as Organic Pastures Dairy Co. of Fresno County and Claravale Farm of San Benito County. Duivenvoorden is the newest name on the list of California raw milk producers for the retail market. The dairy is approved to sell raw milk in retail stores from a new 760-square-foot processing plant. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Counterfeit food? Foods were the most frequently intercepted counterfeit item during a joint World Customs Organization operation in the Pacific Asia region. Most of the foods were seized because of trademark violations. The second “most seized” category was pharmaceuticals. READ MORE

 Maine blueberry crop falls with disease, lack of pollination: Maine’s wild blueberry crop is likely to be much smaller this year than in recent summers because the industry is contending with troubles such as disease and a lack of pollination. The New England state is the wild blueberry capital of the U.S., and in recent years crop sizes have soared and prices have plummeted, bringing uncertainty to a key state industry. The crop grew a little less than one percent last year to almost 102 million pounds, while prices hit a 10-year low of 27 cents per pound to farmers. READ MORE

An odd trend in wheat country: An odd thing has happened in wheat country – a lot of farmers aren’t planting wheat. Thanks to a global grain glut that has caused prices and profits to plunge, this year farmers planted the fewest acres since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping records nearly a century ago. Many farmers are opting this year for crops that might be less iconic but are suddenly in demand, such as chickpeas and lentils, used in hummus and healthy snacks. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Mystery gas cloud wafts onto English beach: Mystery still surrounds a “chemical” haze that descended on a United Kingdom tourist hotspot on Saturday, leaving around 150 holidaymakers hospitalized. Beachgoers were left with burning eyes, breathing difficulties and vomiting as the mist engulfed a stretch of coastline in East Sussex, on the southern coast of England along the English Channel. One witness described how the gas cloud came “out of nowhere,” leaving a chlorine-like smell in the air and turning a “nice, clear, sunny day” into chaos. Dozens of people were “decontaminated” in local hospitals, but the cause of the haze remains unclear, as well as what toxic substances were involved. Suggestions range from a toxic algal bloom to a wartime gas canister. READ MORE