Recruits quarantined, dining facilities inspected: More than 300 recruits at the Marines’ boot camp in San Diego are suffering from diarrheal symptoms from an bacterial outbreak, officials disclosed on Tuesday. With most of the cases linked to Shiga toxin-causing E.coli bacteria, physicians are treating 302 patients out of the more than 5,500 candidates undergoing training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Can we breed pathogen-resistant chickens? A new test developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in College Station, Texas, could make it easier to breed pathogen-resistant chickens. The identifies roosters whose blood contains naturally high levels of two key chemicals, cytokines and chemokines. These chemicals mobilize the birds’ , according to ARS microbiologist Christi Swaggerty, in ARS’s Food and Feed Safety Research Unit. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

What info does Google collect? Imagine you’re working on a Google Doc when, seemingly out of nowhere, your ability to edit the online file gets revoked. What you see instead is an error message indicating that you’ve violated Google’s terms of service. Google said in a statement that it had incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. The fact that Google is capable of identifying “bad” Google Docs at all is a reminder: Much of what you upload, receive or type to Google is monitored. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Is the plague just beginning to spread? Madagascar’s deadly Black Death outbreak could last another six months, with officials warning the oncoming rainy season could see the pandemic explode. And while health officials have seen a slight dip in victims, they warned it could explode at any point between now and April. Of particular concern is that the proportion of pneumonic plague cases is much higher than normal when compared to bubonic plague. Pneumonic plague passes from person to person via sneezing and coughing, while bubonic plague is spread by fleas, usually carried by rats. Read more HERE and HERE.

Lead poisoning killed these eagles. Why? Wildlife sleuths used forensic science to determine what was killing bald eagles along the Upper Mississippi River corridor. Laboratory tests showed that nearly two-thirds of the 58 eagles examined had lead concentrations and more than one-third had clinical lead poisoning. The lab results deepened the mystery as to how these meat eating predators could have been exposed to lead. Researchers discovered the eagles were dining on deer gut piles that contained lead bullets and shotgun pellets. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Dairy herds being moved: Farmers from water-hungry states such as California and Arizona are moving their dairy herds to the upper Midwest. And they are doing it in such numbers that milk processors in those states are racing to build processing capacity for the milk surpluses that those states are currently experiencing. READ MORE

Advocates say little guys will be hurt: After years of fighting for an Obama-era rule that would help contract farmers sue the mammoth companies they produce for, advocacy groups for America’s small poultry, pork, and beef growers may have been dealt a final blow by the Department of Agriculture. Under the Obama administration’s final interim rule, a showing of harm to a single farmer would have been sufficient to support a claim. Now any farmer needs to be able to show the company’s actions hurt not only him, but the entire industry. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am,” said Mike Weaver, a poultry farmer and the president of the Organization for Competitive Meat Markets, who voted for Donald Trump. “Rural America came out and supported the President, and if it weren’t for us, he wouldn’t be where he is now. What they did was wrong, and it shouldn’t have happened that way.” Jay Platt, an Arizona cow-calf rancher, added,  “This gives the meatpacking industry the ability to do whatever they wish in terms of retaliation against an individual.” READ MORE

FOOD TECHNOLOGY

Robots transform dairy farming: Robotic technology is transforming daily feeding and milking on Good Vue Ayr Farms in Minnesota, which milks purebred Holstein and Ayrshire cows. The new climate-controlled freestall barn optimizes cow comfort and health during Minnesota’s winters, and the robotic feeding and milking machines reduce labor costs, and optimize precision ration formulation and feeding intervals. Rolling herd average (pounds of milk per cow per year) has increased. Family members report that these investments have freed up hours each day for them to focus on the management decisions and dry-land row-crop farming which is the principal business of their family farm. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

System takes strain off sewage infrastructure: People in developed countries might not give much thought to what happens after the toilet is flushed, but in developing countries that’s a serious problem. A system called the NEWgenerator is designed to help take the strain off sewage infrastructure, acting as a mini wastewater treatment plant that recovers energy, clean water and fertilizer from sewage. Units will soon be installed in South Africa. READ MORE