Produce industry wants to assist: Eight weeks after the first person became sick, government inspectors still haven’t pinpointed who grew and distributed pre-chopped romaine lettuce associated with a deadly and ongoing E. coli outbreak. Some in the fresh produce industry are blaming the FDA for the delay, saying the government hasn’t taken advantage of assistance the industry has offered. FDA and state officials respond that that handwritten records, a lack of uniformity in traceability labeling, and incomplete shipping and receiving records are slowing the investigation. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Rodents, insects, and poor sanitation: In April, Seymour, Ind.-based Rose Acre Farms announced a recall of more than 200 million shell eggs from Hyde County Egg, owned by Rose Acre Farms. FDA inspectors’ observations shared with the complex manager shortly before the announcement of the multistate outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup don’t paint a pretty picture. The production facility houses three million hens producing 2.3 million eggs per day. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

Drought, famine kill feral horses: Nearly 200 feral horses have been found dead in a stock pond on Navajo land in northern Arizona, according to Navajo leaders, who attributed the death to ongoing drought and famine. Navajo Nation v.p. Jonathan Nez said the horses were searching for water to stay alive and burrowed themselves into the mud. They couldn’t escape because they were so weak. Some of the horses were found thigh- to neck-deep in the mud at the stock pond in Gray Mountain, according to Nina Chester, a staff assistant for the office of the president and vice president. The Navajo community in Arizona has had to contend with a growing feral horse population of about 50 000 to 70 000, according to the statement. READ MORE

EMERGENCIES

Eruption destroys homes: Lava spewing in fountains up to 300 feet high from an erupting Hawaiian volcano has destroyed 35 homes and other buildings, officials said on Monday, warning residents allowed brief visits to their properties to be prepared to flee at a moment’s notice. Many of the 1,700 people under orders to evacuate from the Leilani Estates neighborhood on the eastern side of the Big Island were permitted to return home during daylight hours on Sunday and Monday, during a lull in seismic activity from Kilauea. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Cause disputed for decrease in soybean sales: The latest trade data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows China’s traders are canceling shipments of several agricultural commodities, including U.S. soybeans. According to the data, there were net reductions of 133,700 tons of U.S. soybeans to China for the week ended April 26, sparking fears the reduction was in response to a “trade spat” with the U.S. However, industry leaders say it’s not unusual for China to reduce its purchases at this time of year; historically, China purchases soybeans primarily out of South America since the crop is ready to be harvested. READ MORE

Study finds no link between glyphosate and cancer: A large long-term study on the use of the big-selling weedkiller glyphosate by agricultural workers in the United States has found no firm link between exposure to the pesticide and cancer, scientists said last week. Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), the study found there was no association between glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide RoundUp, and any tumors or malignancies. The findings are likely to impact legal proceedings in the United States against Monsanto, in which more than 180 plaintiffs are claiming exposure to RoundUp gave them cancer—allegations that Monsanto denies. READ MORE

Yet questions linger: Because of different interpretations of scientific evidence regarding potential health risk for humans, public concern about glyphosate use and exposure, and reported differences in toxicity of glyphosate products, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) is undertaking additional research to investigate the potential genetic and mechanistic toxicity of glyphosate and glyphosate formulations. NTP will also examine the published scientific literature for information about effects of glyphosate on non-cancer outcomes. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the United States and worldwide. READ MORE

Meanwhile exports of milk products increase: Suppliers shipped almost 205,000 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose during March, up 26 percent from March 2017. U.S. exports were valued at $510 million, 8 percent greater than in March 2017 and the highest total value since April 2015, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder shipments to Southeast Asia were nearly double prior year level. READ MORE

THE FUTURE

Is a fast food apocalypse coming? As the restaurant industry gets increasingly competitive, fears are mounting that a fast-food apocalypse is nigh. While no executives want to say their chains will perish in the onslaught, CEOs are being forced to admit that the competitive environment is causing problems. READ MORE

The dairy farm of the future: It’s milking time at the Kato farm, but when a Holstein ambles into the milking pen, nobody is there. A robot shoots out four arms and attaches a suction tube to each teat while she enjoys a tasty treat. Within 10 minutes, it is the next cow’s turn. In Japan, doing more with less means getting a robot to milk your cows. READ MORE

Could ‘magic mushrooms’ be next? In Oregon and Denver, where marijuana is legal for recreational use, activists are now pushing toward a psychedelic frontier: “magic mushrooms.” Groups in both states are sponsoring ballot measures that would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of the mushrooms whose active ingredient, psilocybin, can cause hallucinations, euphoria and changes in perception. They point to research showing that psilocybin might be helpful for people suffering from depression or anxiety. READ MORE