Child stroking a chicken and her grandmoder helps to hold

CDC investigates Salmonella outbreaks: The Centers for Disease Control is currently investigating a rash of Salmonella outbreaks linked to backyard chickens. A total of 124 people were infected with one of several strains of Salmonella between February and May of 2018, spread across 36 states. Nearly a third of those infected were children and 21 were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported thus far. A record 1,120 cases of Salmonella linked to backyard chickens were reported in 2017. READ MORE


Don’t eat Honey Smacks: Federal officials are urging the public to not eat Kellogg’s Honey Smacks and to throw away any they have in their homes because of a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections. Out of 73 victims in 31 states for whom the CDC has information, 44 percent have required hospitalization. No deaths have been confirmed. READ MORE

Flouting food safety rules doesn’t pay: In late 2008 and early 2009, peanut butter and peanut paste from a Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) facility in Georgia were linked to a multistate Salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands and caused at least nine deaths. After a four-year investigation led by the FBI, five executives were indicted. Now, a circuit court has refused to hear the appeals of Stewart and Michael Parnell,  and their only recourse is to seek a U.S. Supreme Court decision or accept their sentences. Former CEO Stewart Parnell would be 86 if he completes the remaining 22 years of his sentence. His brother Michael, a peanut broker, has 15 years to complete and will be 74.  READ MORE


Mountaire faces class-action lawsuit: Nearly 700 people from the Millsboro, Del., area are part of a class action lawsuit to be filed against Mountaire Farms, demanding that Mountaire overhaul its wastewater treatment plant, provide clean and safe drinking water to those affected, remediate the groundwater, compensate those who say they lost property values, and address health concerns. The suit is in response to a consent decree reached with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control that calls for the chicken processor to pay a $420,000 civil penalty. Read more HERE and HERE.


Ricin attack plotted: German prosecutors say the country has thwarted an Islamic extremist plot to launch an attack with the deadly toxin ricin. Federal prosecutors said a 29-year-old Tunisian started procuring material online, including seeds needed for the creation of ricin, in mid-May. They say he succeeded in creating the toxin this month, and investigators found it in a search of his Cologne apartment. READ MORE


Seafood scams: In a global industry plagued by fraud and deceit, conscientious consumers are increasingly paying top dollar for what they believe is local, sustainably caught seafood. But even in this fast-growing niche market, companies can hide behind murky supply chains that make it difficult to determine where any given fish comes from.  READ MORE


A different kind of dairy: Unlike traditional robotic dairies and rotary parlors, Qual Dairy in Libson, N.D., took a different approach to dairy farming and capitalized on new technology. Installing a robotic rotary parlor, the operation is now the fourth parlor of its kind to be installed in North America and only the 15thin the world. READ MORE


CDC issues hepatitis A alert: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Health Alert Network Advisory regarding hepatitis A infections and is monitoring vaccine supplies amidst a multi-state outbreak. Outbreaks have been reported in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Utah and West Virginia. More than 40 people have died, and almost a third of victims are outside high-risk groups (the homeless or drug users). READ MORE


Gangs embrace social media: Gangs’ embrace of social media to goad foes or conceal drug dealing in emoji-laden text is the biggest change in how gangs operate compared with 10 years ago, according to new law enforcement data, reports the Associated Press. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites have radically altered gang culture in Chicago and are having a similar influence on gangs nationwide. READ MORE

What to do about eavesdropping smart speakers: Your friendly neighborhood smart speaker can do everything from dictate recipes to control door locks. On the less positive side, it’s also capable of eavesdropping on your conversations and activities. What’s a privacy-concerned citizen to do? READ MORE


Two more new states? It’s been 59 years since Hawaii joined the Union to be the 50thstate, and we could be adding two more states by splitting California into thirds. The Cal 3 proposition authored by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Trim Draper is proposing to divide California into three separate states: Northern California, Southern California, and California, which would stretch from Monterey to Los Angeles. READ MORE