Shellfish harvests banned on both coasts: With many people heading to their favorite beach for the final fling of the summer this holiday weekend, fresh shellfish fans will no doubt be out in force harvesting clams, oysters, mussels and other delicacies. But unseen dangers lurk in the coastal waters and creatures that call them home. Pieces of coastline from New England to the Gulf Coast to the Pacific Northwest are closed to shellfish harvesting because of dangerously high levels of paralytic shellfish poison, Vibrio bacteria and other toxins. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

A lot of food will be lost: As Hurricane Harvey spiraled toward the Gulf Coast last week, food banks in Texas ramped up into worst-case-scenario mode, working alongside federal, state, and local agencies to ensure displaced residents would have adequate supplies of food, whatever the storm’s eventual outcome. During and after a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, however, ensuring food safety can be as important—if not more so—as maintaining adequate supplies.massive chunks of our edible infrastructure rely on refrigeration. Lose power for more than a couple of days and you’re facing significant spoilage risks— and that’s just the beginning .READ MORE

USDA releases food safety recommendations for hurricane victims: Among the issues that should be at the front of mind for victims of Hurricane Harvey is food safety. As power outages continue to cover the Coastal Bend in darkness, food borne illness remains a distinctive and timely concern for those suffering the storm’s aftermath. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

High E. coli in floodwater samples: A Texas A&M University analysis of floodwater samples from the Houston area shows E. coli levels 125 times higher than what is considered safe for swimming. Terry Gentry, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, says even walking through floodwater could lead to infections and other problems. E. coli in water is an “indicator bacteria” that signals the presence of fecal matter, which can make people sick. READ MORE

ANIMAL HEALTH

Animal cruelty at breeder farm results in convictions: Virginia Attorney Gen. Mark Herring announced this week that his Animal Law Unit has secured seven more convictions in a year-old animal cruelty case at a Tyson Foods breeder farm in Mecklenburg and Buckingham counties that occurred a year ago. A year ago, when the poor animal handling came to light in a video, Tyson fired two employees. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Plan to combat seafood fraud passes court challenge: A new federal plan to combat seafood fraud by requiring the fishing industry to trace their catches from boat or farm to the U.S. border has survived a court challenge. The Seafood Traceability Rule surfaced during President Barack Obama’s final days in office and is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. For the first time, it requires seafood importers of species like tuna, grouper, swordfish, red snapper and blue crab to track fish entering the U.S. by species and origin. READ MORE

AI poses serious threat in South Africa: Avian influenza is continuing to spread across South Africa where 300,000 birds have been culled in the past two months. On Monday, at least 30,000 chickens were found to have died from the disease on a farm in the Paardeberg region of the Western Cape. South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) reported that its officials had culled a further 110,000 birds in a bid to control the disease. Because of the mortality rate,  the causal agent is believed to be the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain, but DAFF tests were yet to confirm that was the case. READ MORE