Bagel with cream cheese

No illnesses reported: Panera Bread has announced it is preemptively recalling all of the 2 ounce and 8 ounce cream cheese products sold at its 2,000 U.S. locations. The fast-casual chain said it had made its decision “out of an abundance of caution” after samples of one of its cream cheese varieties tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The company notes that “no illnesses have been reported.” READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

What happens when a city runs out of water? Cape Town, a city of four million, is set to run out of water on April 12. The South African city plans to cut off access to the municipal water supply on that date, after which the city will open up 200 water-collection points where people can pick up their ration of 25 liters (6.6 gallons) a day per person. The city is preparing for the water queues to turn into a security threat, and national police and military will be assigned to stand guard at water-collection sites. Drought, population growth and climate change are helping fuel Cape Town’s water crisis, and our experts say this is just the beginning. Read more HERE and HERE.

Maduro government faces more problems: The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, hated by much of the country’s population and sanctioned by a growing number of countries, is facing problems keeping the police and military happy as food shortages and hyperinflation start to hit their barracks. READ MORE

UPDATE: FEMA will continue to distribute food, water in Puerto Rico—for now: A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that the agency’s plan to end its distribution of emergency food and water in Puerto Rico and turn that responsibility over to the Puerto Rican government would not take effect on Jan. 31. Provision of those commodities will continue, spokesman William Booher said. A different spokesperson, Delyris Aquino-Santiago, had earlier told NPR that it would “officially shut off” its food and water mission on the island on Jan. 31 and hand its remaining food and water supplies over to the Puerto Rican government to finish distributing. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Producer fined for loosing invasive Atlantic salmon: The largest U.S. producer of farmed Atlantic salmon was fined $332,000 on Tuesday for alleged violations of Washington state water quality laws after hundreds of thousands of invasive Atlantic salmon were released last year into waters famed for their native salmon, state officials said. Cooke Aquaculture Pacific failed to adequately clean nets holding farmed salmon, leading to a net pen failure last summer that allowed the fish to swim away into Puget Sound, officials said in a report compiled by the state’s departments of fish and wildlife, ecology and natural resources. READ MORE

Foodservice distributors allege antitrust violations in chicken biz: Sysco Corp. and U.S. Foods Inc. have filed separate antitrust lawsuits in U.S. District Court for northern Illinois accusing Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms and a number of other processing companies of conspiring to curtail the supply of chicken and artificially inflate prices, according to the complaint. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Koch Foods cited for safety violations: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Koch Foods of Gainesville LLC for multiple safety and health violations at its poultry processing plant. The company faces proposed penalties of $208,977. OSHA cited Koch with a repeat violation for exposing employees to amputation hazards by failing to provide machine guarding. Fourteen serious citations were issued for failing to provide fall protection, not identifying which employees were using hazardous energy control locks, and failing to train employees exposed to noise hazards. READ MORE

TERRORISM

Syrian government responsible for atrocity, scientists say: The Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile has been linked for the first time by laboratory tests to the largest sarin nerve agent attack of the civil war, diplomats and scientists told Reuters, supporting Western claims that government forces under President Bashar al-Assad were behind the atrocity. Laboratories working for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons compared samples taken by a U.N. mission in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta after the Aug. 21, 2013, attack, when hundreds of civilians died of sarin gas poisoning, to chemicals handed over by Damascus for destruction in 2014. READ MORE

Mexican officials set to crack down: Mexican officials said on Sunday the government was set to unleash a new wave of troops to crack down on criminal groups in regions where a surge in violence led to more than 25,000 murders last year. National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said federal police troops will work with local officials to round up known major criminals and bolster investigations. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

About that adenovirus: The massive flu outbreak gripping the U.S. could let a lesser-known infection slip through the cracks. And even if more doctors checked for the flu-like bug known as adenovirus, the vaccine to prevent it remains licensed for military use only. That’s according to a new report published this week by the Centers for Disease Control in its journal, Emerging Infectious Diseaseswhich suggests the military’s exclusive vaccine be considered for civilian use. READ MORE

ANIMAL WELFARE

Police uncover cockfight: Police in Dallas busted a cockfight in progress on Sunday morning while looking for a stolen car on abandoned property, according to the SPCA of Texas. SPCA of Texas spokeswoman Maura Davies said in a press release that the agency along with the Dallas Police Department seized 48 fighting roosters from an abandoned property in Balch Springs. READ MORE

WEIRD STUFF

Why roosters don’t go deaf: Roosters have their own natural mechanism to prevent them from going deaf from their loud crowing, researchers have found. Analysis has shown that a rooster’s crow averages over 100 decibels, which is equivalent to a chainsaw. People who regularly use chainsaws without ear protection go deaf due to the damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. READ MORE

Please pass the poop: We might sometimes talk about eating crap on a night in, but that’s nothing compared to the more literal crap future astronauts could well find themselves chowing down on. That’s thanks to researchers at Penn State University, who have been using a research grant from NASA to develop technology for breaking down solid and liquid waste, and transforming it into food that’s hygienic and safe for humans — albeit something you probably won’t be serving at a dinner party anytime soon. READ MORE

Brotherly love, reindeer style: In Shortsville, N.Y., about 30 miles east of Rochester, reindeer brothers Moose and Little Buddy call a little farm home. Their owner, Mike Schaertl, was looking forward to Little Buddy’s first holiday season, but last month the 5-month-old reindeer got very sick. Reindeer are vulnerable to tick-borne diseases, and living in areas where deer graze can increase the risk of infection. When Little Buddy lost his energy and had no interest in eating his favorite beet pulp or playing with Moose, concern grew. READ MORE