Thieves get away with more than 600 pumpkins: Whether they are extra-large, painted pink, or even inflatable, thieves are snatching pumpkins at an alarming rate. The most recent haul by sticky-fingered pilferers was the theft of more than 600 pumpkins from a farm in Long Island. According to Newsday, more than 600 pumpkins (worth about $4,200) were stolen from Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm in Calverton, NY, in late September, just before harvest. The owner of the 250-acre farm told Newsday “somebody’s on a rampage” — her farm wasn’t the only one hit in the area. The pumpkins, and the malefactors, remain at large. READ MORE

Don’t eat too much black licorice! Eating two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land a person older than 40 years old in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned—just in time for Halloween. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

More Campy infections, most from Petland puppies: Although officials with Petland Inc. say any dog can be infected with Campylobacter, 93 percent of victims in an ongoing, 15-state outbreak had contact with Petland puppies before becoming ill. In an outbreak update Monday, federal officials reported a dozen more people have been confirmed in the outbreak since Oct. 3, bringing the total to 67. No deaths have been reported, but almost a third of the victims, 27 percent, have required hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. READ MORE

Fires’ unhealthy legacy, ash: By any measure, the fires that tore through Northern California were a major disaster. That devastation left behind another potential disaster: ash. No one knows how much. It’ll be full of heavy metals and toxins—no one knows exactly how much, and it depends on what burned and at what temperature. The ash will infiltrate soils, but no one’s really sure how or whether that’ll be a problem. And eventually some of it—maybe a lot—will flow into the regional aquatic ecosystem and ultimately the San Francisco Bay. READ MORE

Effects of Superstorm Sandy linger: When Superstorm Sandy struck at the end of October 2012, the fallout was widespread and remarkable. Some of the most overt consequences were immediate: signs of crisis were shouted through a bullhorn. Homes and buildings kneeled at the foundation; trees were yanked out by their roots. Water poured into subway stations, ruining electrical and mechanical systems. Power outages washed across the coast and toward the center of the country, all the way to Michigan and Ohio. Sewage seeped into bodies of water in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and beyond. Other consequences were quieter at first, and grew more dire as time elapsed. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Hurricane Harvey caused some $200 million in ag losses: Hurricane Harvey caused more than $200 million in crop and livestock losses, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economists. Their tally comes a couple months after Harvey dropped an estimated 19 trillion gallons of rain in Southeast Texas. Livestock accounted for about $93 million of the total ag losses. READ MORE

Food insecurity in Africa: Although most African countries have made progress over the past decade, the food-security situation remains severe. Here’s what you need to know. To start with, many Africans are food insecure, despite marked improvements in nutrition over the past two decades. The good news is that undernourishment in sub-Saharan Africa has declined from 28.1 percent in 2000 to 20.8 percent in 2015. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

N. Korean mine at nuclear test site collapses: As many as 200 North Korean labourers have been killed after a mine shaft being dug at the regime’s nuclear test site collapsed, according to Japan’s Asahi TV. Sources in North Korea told the news channel that a tunnel being excavated by around 100 workers at the Punggye-ri test site collapsed earlier this month. An additional 100 labourers sent to rescue their colleagues were reportedly killed when the tunnel suffered a second collapse. Read more HERE and HERE.