ripe organic romaine lettuce

A total of 121 people sick in 25 states: The first death has been reported in a national food poisoning outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. Federal health officials say California reported the death, but they did not provide other details. The government now has reports of 121 people who got sick in 25 states. At least 52 people have been hospitalized, including 14 with kidney failure, which is an unusually high number of hospitalizations. READ MORE

Another E. coli outbreak traced to daycare center: The Oklahoma Department of Health has confirmed it is investigating several cases of food poisoning caused by E. coli in Moore, part of the Oklahoma City metro area. A department spokesman said the outbreak is not related to the nationwide romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak but instead can be traced back to a Moore day care center. Five cases have been traced back to the center. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Grain dust caused explosion: A corn grinder began belching flames shortly before a deadly explosion tore through a southern Wisconsin mill last year, federal safety inspectors said Monday. The May 31 blast at the Didion Milling Co. plant in Cambria killed five workers, injured 14 others and reduced the facility to rubble. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in November that an accumulation of highly combustible grain dust probably caused the explosion. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

CDC report in perspective: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an alarming report yesterday, declaring that cases of diseases spread by ticks, mosquitos, and fleas more than tripled in the US between 2004 and 2016. Unnerving headlines followed, emphasizing the tripling (e.g. The Washington Post) or some making claims that tick and mosquito infections are “spreading rapidly” (e.g. The New York Times). But a look at the data tells a more nuanced, less alarming story. READ MORE

Could non-compliant brands flourish? Some industry observers are starting to question how many of the thousands of supplements sold on Amazon and other high volume online platforms comply with adverse event reporting requirements and other rules pertaining to the sales of these products. While Amazon per se bears no responsibility, they say the company’s vast reach could create a climate in which non-compliant brands flourish. READ MORE

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

West Hollywood identifies buildings at risk: West Hollywood has identified more than 800 buildings that could be at risk of damage or collapse in a major earthquake, part of a comprehensive effort to inventory such structures and require retrofits. Buildings listed as needing further study include landmark hotels such as the Andaz West Hollywood, the Mondrian, the Standard and the Sunset Tower. READ MORE 

MISCELLANEOUS

FBI in crisis mode: In normal times, the televisions are humming at the FBI’s 56 field offices nationwide, piping in the latest news as agents work their investigations. But these days, some agents say, the TVs are often off to avoid the crush of bad stories about the FBI itself. The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump. READ MORE

Tyson aims to enhance communication with growers: Tyson Foods Inc. today announced the launch of several initiatives—including a Contract Poultry Farmers’ Bill of Rights—aimed at enhancing communications and transparency with the thousands of independent farmers who grow its chickens. The company pays more than $800 million annually to more than 3,600 independent poultry farmers who contract to raise chickens for its operations. Tyson supplies the birds, feed and technical advice, while the farmer provides the labor, housing and utilities. READ MORE