Golden Retriever lying on the ground, licking his chops after eating from a bowl in front of him.

FDA investigating source of pentobarbital: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating where exactly in the supply chain that sodium pentobarbital was introduced into several recently recalled dog foods. The J.M. Smucker Co. has issued a voluntary recall of  Gravy Train, Ol’Roy, Kibbles N’ Bits and Skippy Premium, and Against the Grain issued a recall last week for the same concern. Veterinarians usually euthanize animals that are too sick to save by injecting the drug, causing cardiac arrest and death. Some pet food companies buy raw goods from rendering facilities that process animals euthanized at animal shelters, for example; that means some pet food is made from a variety of meats that humans wouldn’t eat, including diseased livestock and cats and dogs containing lethal doses of sodium pentobarbital. READ MORE


Antibiotics use in U.S. poultry higher than in U.K.: Antibiotic use in U.S. poultry production is three times higher than in the United Kingdom and five times higher for turkeys, according to a report released by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics. Globally, scientists estimate that 73 percent of all antibiotics are used in farm animals, and they forecast use will increase by a further 53 percent by 2030 if the number of animals continues to grow and farming becomes more intensive. READ MORE


Smartphone attachment detects bacteria: Food scientists at University of Massachusetts-Amherst have come up with a technique they say could make it a lot easier to avoid food poisoning. The main piece of equipment? A $30 attachment clipped to your smartphone. The device works in conjunction with a chemically-coated chip that binds to bacteria, even in tiny amounts. Dipping the chip into contaminated water for half an hour, for example, will reveal bacteria. READ MORE

Coffee laced with amphetamine: Earlier this month, two men were admitted to the hospital in Penang, Malaysia, after drinking a premixed coffee, which left them dizzy and nauseous. Earlier, five individuals were treated at the same hospital when they experienced extreme fatigue after drinking a “durian white coffee” mixture. The seven people, aged between 19 and 62, were hospitalized for observation, and tests on two of the seven individuals were found positive for syabu, an amphetamine derivative. READ MORE

The Lactalis story: Negative news keeps piling up for French dairy giant Lactalis, which recalled 12 million cans of baby milk in December because of a multi-country Salmonella outbreak traced to the product. Forty infants across France, Spain and Greece have been confirmed in the Salmonella Agona outbreak. Lactalis distributed the product to 86 countries. The company sells products in the United States, but the recalled infant formula was not sent to the states. READ MORE

Understanding Listeria contamination in processing plants: About 1,600 Americans become ill from eating foods contaminated with Listeria each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pathogen’s recent influx in a variety of fresh, frozen and processed foods is reinforcing the importance of understanding how contamination occurs in processing plants. READ MORE


Drought prompts warnings: Farmers and ranchers in the Southern Great Plains are in a drought with conditions worsening since November. While the drought affects many of the contiguous states, the states experiencing the worst conditions are Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and Kansas. As drought conditions continue, farmers and ranchers should consider taking immediate steps, such as buying hay while it is still available and culling cows, to help mitigate further impacts to their operations. Historically, cattle prices decline and supplemental feed costs increase the longer a drought persists. READ MORE