Small turtle on a hand looking at camera and with leaves on the background

Photo by Pablo Solís Fernández

Outbreak victims total 76: Salmonella contamination from pet turtles and a lack of handwashing has reached a total of 76 people in 19 states, including 30 hospitalizations. Some 32 percent of the victims are children younger than 5 years old. Salmonella can be spread from the turtles to food or household surfaces after the handling of turtles or their habitats. Proper handwashing should always be practiced after engaging with turtles or their environment. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

More news on Russian food-related propaganda campaign: Researchers at Iowa State University have uncovered a massive propaganda campaign that seeks to manipulate the American public’s perception of genetically modified organisms—and Moscow is paying for it. The ISU researchers came to that conclusion after studying the contents of a pair of Russian-backed “news” websites: RT (formerly called Russia Today) and Sputnik. One article, for example, carried this provocative (and false) headline: “GMO mosquitoes could be cause of Zika outbreak.” READ MORE

Are sunscreens bad for your health? The science on sun exposure is clear: too much of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation leads to sunburns, rapidly aging skin, and potentially, skin cancer. To lower their risk, many Americans turn to sunscreens—sprays, lotions, and even powders—to protect their skin from the worst of the sun’s effects. But what do scientists have to say about sunscreen? Unfortunately, while the choice to protect yourself from the sun is a no-brainer, the question of how best to do so is a little more contentious. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Are poultry farms small businesses? In a wonky, little-seen report released last week, the Office of the Inspector General made a huge statement about the lives of poultry farmers. The OIG took a look at the loans issued by the Small Business Administration, specifically loans to contract poultry farmers. The OIG came to a startling conclusion: these farmers are so controlled by the corporation they’re contracted to (like Perdue and Smithfield) that they literally don’t count as independent small businesses. READ MORE

All about tariffs on beef: Wherever you get your news, you likely couldn’t avoid hearing a particular T word last week: tariffs. Tariffs are something that those in the beef industry have been talking about for a long time. So while we have a tariff example fresh in the news and a report of strong beef exports, perhaps it’s a good time to touch on some of the tariffs facing U.S. beef entering other countries. READ MORE

ANIMAL HEALTH

Chinese suspend some poultry imports: Chinese officials have suspended imports of poultry meat from parts of Texas, France and Mexico in the wake of outbreaks of avian influenza in three areas. The food safety authority of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) cited confirmations of low-pathogenic H7N1 bird flu in Hopkins County, Texas, H5N3 in Finestere Department in France and highly pathogenic H7N3 in two states in Mexico for the actions. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Yes, we’re getting more blizzards: We’ve all spent the last several weeks reading nonstop nor’easter news, as three major winter storms bombarded the East with wet snow and power outages. It turns out that having three storms so close together isn’t that unusual—it happened just a few years ago—but we are having more storms these days. READ MORE