Extreme close up of honey dripping into glass jar.

Netflix documentary zeroes in on food production: A new six-part documentary series that is extremely critical of the food industry was set to premier Jan. 5 on Netflix. Zero Point Zero, the production company that regularly collaborates with Anthony Bourdain, has created Rotten, which is described as spotlighting “varying forms of corruption that plague the food industry.” The first installment, titled “Lawyers, Guns, and Honey,” was to zero in on the notoriously corrupt global honey business, describing  the “largest food fraud investigation and prosecution in history — a scam known as Honeygate.” Other segments will look at the poultry industry and American fisheries. Food industry professionals would be wise to keep abreast of the criticism. Read more HERE and HERE.

FOOD SECURITY

Social isolation can cause malnutrition: More than one million older people are at risk of “withering away in their own homes” as a result of malnutrition caused by social isolation and cuts to public services, a cross-party group of peers and MPs claims. The all-party parliamentary group on hunger says social isolation caused by bereavement, illness, immobility or confinement – such as through the loss of a driving licence – are the main causes of a largely “hidden” problem of elderly hunger in the UK. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

A ton of meatballs recalled: A New Jersey food company is recalling more than a ton of frozen meatballs packaged under the Sam’s Club brand “Member’s Mark” because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Rich Products Corp. of Vineland, N.J., shipped the ready-to-eat meatballs to distributors in nine states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The recall notice did not indicate whether those distributors have sent the recalled meatballs to other states. READ MORE

Many listeriosis cases start at home: A third of listeriosis cases are due to the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in food prepared and stored at home in the refrigerator, according to a scientific opinion published by the European Food Safety Authority. Sources may be open ready-to-eat (RTE) packages that are stored for extended periods in the refrigerator after they are opened, as well as varying fridge temps or consumers ignoring label instructions. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Silo collapses, but employees are safe: A silo collapse has sent about 10,000 tons of corn onto an Ohio road, shutting it down for days. WHIO-TV reports emergency crews first responded to calls of an explosion at the Miami Valley Feed & Grain Co. in New Carlisle late Sunday night. Fire officials say there was no explosion and the sounds came from the silo collapsing. The collapse also damaged another building. The company says no employees were in the area at the time and no injuries were reported. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Another devastating chlorine gas attack in Syria: The United States earlier this week accused Syria’s government of a chlorine gas attack on civilians in the same rebel enclave hit more than four years ago by the deadliest known chemical assault in the Syrian war. In sharp denunciations from Ambassador Nikki R. Haley at the United Nations and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson in Paris, the Americans also rebuked Russia for what they called its failure to stop such assaults, which under international law are war crimes. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

SIU halts herpes research: Southern Illinois University’s medical school has halted all herpes research, one of its most high-profile projects, amid growing controversy over a researcher’s unauthorized methods offshore and in the U.S. A professor, Dr. William Halford (who died in June) had injected Americans with his experimental herpes vaccine in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2016 and in Illinois hotel rooms in 2013 without routine safety oversight from the Food and Drug Administration or an institutional review board. READ MORE

WEIRD STUFF

Earthquake causes Florida water levels to drop: Tuesday’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska sent vibrations through the earth that caused water to rise and fall in wells in Florida, thousands of miles away. Sensors near Fort Lauderdale and Madison, near the Georgia border, showed a minor change in water levels after the earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Why did water levels in these wells some 3,800 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter change? READ MORE