Change coming in U.S., too: McDonald’s says it will start using paper straws instead of plastic at all its locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland. And it plans to test sustainable alternatives to plastic straws in some restaurants in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe later this year.  The company reportedly uses about 1.8 million straws a day in the U.K.  READ MORE


Soybean prices tumble: Some $50 billion in U.S. tariffs is expected to go into effect July 6, and the Trump administration i looking for an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods upon which to place tariffs. Commodity markets are suffering as a result; the Chinese tariffs have responded with tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average erased all gains for the year in reaction to the news. So have commodities. During Tuesday’s trade, soybeans dropped 40 cents before recovering to near $9 levels before the close, the lowest price in nearly 10 years. READ MORE


vND spreads among backyard flocks: A contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry is spreading through backyard exhibition chickens in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties in California. Virulent Newcastle Disease or vND is not a foodborne illness, but humans working with or around sick birds can be infected and develop mild symptoms. For infected poultry, however, vND means certain death. READ MORE

Mosquito-borne disease jumps to humans: Concerns about mosquito-borne viruses like Zika and West Nile are renewed every year, but a mosquito-borne disease thought only to be transmitted to animals seems to have jumped the barrier to humans. Scientists first discovered the Keystone virus in the Keystone area of Tampa 50 years ago.  The first known human case of the disease was just identified in North Florida, but it took doctors a year to make the diagnosis. READ MORE

New strain of deadly bird flu: A new strain of deadly bird flu that kills 38 per cent of those infected has been identified in China. In that country, the deadly pathogen has killed 623 of the 1,625 people who have been infected. While the virus cannot yet be passed from person to person, experts believe it is only three mutations away from being able to spread via human contact. READ MORE

Watch out for hogweed: Officials in Virginia are warning residents to be on the lookout after an invasive plant was found in the northern part of the state. The plant, called hogweed, can cause third-degree burns and even permanent blindness. The Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech said in a Facebook post that 30 giant hogweed plants were discovered in Clarke County, and said the plant can be found in 10 other states. READ MORE

Healthy eggs? Nutrition experts say eggs are beneficial in a high-protein diet but the FDA says they’re too high in fat and cholesterol to be labeled healthy. READ MORE


No more paid-for ‘followers’: Consumer goods giant Unilever, the world’s second-biggest advertiser, is cutting ties with digital media “influencers” that buy followers, saying it wants to help make advertising more transparent. READ MORE


Ohio raid: More than 100 workers were arrested at an Ohio meatpacking plant by federal agents following a yearlong immigration investigation, the second large raid in the state in the past two weeks. The 146 arrests occurred at Fresh Mark’s meat processing plant in Salem, in northeastern Ohio. Immigration agents and local authorities also carried out search warrants at the company’s two other locations in Massillon, and its plant in Canton. The investigation focused on whether the company knowingly hired people who are in the country illegally and used fake identities belonging to U.S. citizens to get their jobs. READ MORE


Feed additives to support gut health: Over the last years, feed additives that support gut health have gained special attention from animal producers worldwide. In many regions interest has been further nourished by regulatory ambitions to restrict the use of antibiotics, either as antimicrobial growth promoter or as veterinary drugs. READ MORE


Chemicals in drinking water: A government study has found that chemicals found in drinking water around the country could pose risks to human health at lower levels than the government currently recognizes, potentially opening the door for more states to begin cleaning up or regulating the chemical. The report released Wednesday by a branch of the Office of Health and Human Services examined a category of chemicals commonly called PFAS that have been used to make non-stick products, firefighting foam and water-repellant coatings. READ MORE


A lightning rod for dog lovers: Residents of China’s southern city of Yulin defended eating dog meat to celebrate the summer solstice on Thursday, as animal rights activists seek new ways to pressure organizers to cancel the annual festival. The 10-day event, dubbed the lychee and dog meat festival by residents, has become a lightning rod for dog lovers, who every year confront those who buy, sell and eat canines. READ MORE

In Korea, a conviction over dog meat: A South Korean court has ruled against the killing of dogs for meat, in what has been described by animal rights groups as a milestone towards a national ban on serving the animals for human consumption. An estimated one million dogs are believed to be eaten annually in South Korea, where the practice historically has been fuelled by a belief that it aids virility. READ MORE


A&W adding plant-based burger: For Canadians looking to sink their teeth into the widely buzzed about Beyond Burger, the wait is almost over. A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. will be the first national burger chain in Canada, and Beyond Meat’s largest restaurant partner yet, to add the innovative, plant-based burger to its menu. Starting July 9, 2018, A&W will offer the Beyond Meat Burger at all its restaurants across Canada. READ MORE

Robot-crafted burger: On June 27, the world’s first robot-crafted burger will roll off a conveyor belt in San Francisco and into the hands of the public. The product, from Bay Area-based Creator, a culinary robotics company, is assembled and cooked in a machine that contains 20 computers, 350 sensors, and 50 actuator mechanisms. It does everything from slicing and toasting the brioche bun to adding toppings (to order) and seasoning and cooking the patties, all in five minutes. The price: $6. READ MORE


Google benefits from Amazon deal: A year ago, Amazon announced it would take over Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion deal that shook the grocery industry. Since then, a number of e-commerce start-ups have scored paydays from big retailers. Walmart bought Flipkart, Target acquired Shipt, and Kroger invested in Ocado, for example. But there’s been another surprising beneficiary in the tech world: Google. READ MORE

Starbucks stock takes a tumble: Starbucks’ stock took a tumble Wednesday after CEO Kevin Johnson announced that the coffee giant would close 150 company-owned stores next year instead of the expected 50, with an emphasis on underperforming shops in densely populated urban areas, and lowered growth projections. Johnson identified the chain’s problems as “drinks no one wants, too many stores, not enough innovation.” READ MORE