Yes, North Korea could do significant damage to the regional or world food supply: The rhetoric is not yet white hot but certainly heating up. North Korea wants nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles. The U.S. is determined this will not happen. The potential threats are becoming more real with each passing day as new information is made public. North Korea has chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. All three could cause significant damage to the regional food supply (Korean peninsula, southern China, Japan, etc.) and, depending on decisions made in Pyongyang, on the world’s food supply. READ MORE


U.S. food system continues to be soft target: Sadly, more and more these days, terrorism has become a prevalent concern, and the U.S. food system continues to be a soft target, largely unprotected from insider threats. Lone wolf attacks are becoming more common, and the U.S. food system is a critical “soft target.” Food Safety Tech discussed the issue with special agent Scott Mahloch, weapons of mass destruction coordinator for FBI Chicago, during a conversation leading up to this week’s Food Safety Consortium, where Mahloch is speaking.The U.S. food system continues to be a soft target, largely unprotected from the insider threat. READ MORE


Vomit machine reaffirms need for deep clean after norovirus ‘event’: The change of seasons can bring a chance of snow for some and a chance of viruses for even more. Sharing time, meals and close spaces from Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Day all too often means sharing bugs, which don’t discriminate. Although they’re the last living creatures on any invitation list, when pathogens make surprise appearances it’s important to know how to handle cleanup, especially if norovirus is the culprit. READ MORE


NWS predicts typical La Nina winter: The National Weather Service’s (NWS) forecast for December through February signals a typical La Nina winter is ahead. The forecast calls for below-normal temps across the Pacific Northwest into the Northern Plains, while above-normal temps are expected across the South. Additionally, above-normal precip is expected across the northern tier of states, including eastern Iowa into the eastern Corn Belt, while below-normal precip is expected across the South. READ MORE

Dairy farmers warned to be on lookout: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) has alerted its membership that the animal rights activist group, Mercy for Animals, is recruiting undercover investigators to go on farm to record animal abuse and neglect. “While there is no cause for alarm, this does serve as a reminder to be vigilant when it comes to hiring practices,” DFA said in its notice. READ MORE


Legionnaire’s is a common cause of waterborne disease: Two recently published reports in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports describe the ongoing threat of waterborne disease, including Legionnaire’s disease. The reports track both drinking water and environmental exposures in the United States. Using data tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System, the authors documented 42 drinking-water associated outbreaks in 2013 and 2014. The outbreaks led to 1,006 illnesses, 124 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths. More than half (57 percent) of these outbreaks were associated with Legionella. All 13 deaths, and 109 (88 percent) hospitalizations, were linked to Legionella. Twenty-nine percent of outbreaks were caused by parasites, 97 percent of those from Cryptosporidium and 3% caused by Giardia duodenalis. The others were linked to chemicals and toxins. READ MORE