Dirty floodwaters can lead to public health disasters: In the coming weeks and even months, residents of Houston and other parts of southern Texas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey will be faced with the public health disasters that can result from dirty floodwater and landslides. The natural disaster may have turned the city into a sprawling, pathogen-infested swamp. Entire neighborhoods have turned into contaminated and potentially toxic rivers. For many of the city’s residents, contact with floodwater is unavoidable, putting them at risk for diarrhea-causing bacterial infections, Legionnaires’ disease and mosquito-borne viruses. READ MORE

How dirty is floodwater? Rising flood water not only displaces people from their homes but poses significant risks to health and safety. The water itself can be full of contaminants, and even when the water subsides, what remains can be risky. Flood water mixes with everything below it, including pesticides and animal wastes. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Flood food safety stressed: With wind and rain from Hurricane Harvey expected to continue through the end of the week, public health officials have renewed their messages about the dangers of floodwater and other food safety hazards. Most refrigerated food spoiled days ago. Meat, poultry and dairy foods should not be eaten is they’ve been above 40 degrees F for two hours. Flood waters can also render food inedible, because the water contains chemicals, sewage and harmful bacteria and viruses. The FDA also warns that flood-affected crops should not be harvested for consumption.  READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Too early to gauge Harvey’s impact on beef prices: The deluge of rain from Hurricane Harvey is soaking Texas pastures, leaving some cattle stranded in floodwater in the state that leads the U.S. in beef production. The 54 counties in the state’s disaster zone have at least 1.2 million beef cows, according to the latest government statistics, said David Anderson, a livestock economist at Texas A&M University. It’s too early to gauge the storm’s impact, he said. Cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rose as much as 2.6 percent on Monday, reaching the highest in almost three weeks. READ MORE

AI fears prompt mass culling: Concerns about the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) reported since the spring sparked one of Russia’s largest chicken companies to cull an estimated 1 million birds this month, according to several media reports. READ MORE