a fishing trawler with nets

We imported more than six billion pounds: The United States imported more seafood last year than at any point in its history, and the nation’s trade deficit in the sector is growing, federal data show. The U.S. imported more than six billion pounds of seafood valued at more than $21.5 billion in 2017, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees American fisheries. The country exported more than 3.6 billion pounds valued at about $6 billion. READ MORE


Vicious vegans: Butchers in France have written to the interior minister to ask for protection against violence and intimidation from vegan campaigners who “want to impose their lifestyle on the immense majority of people.” Vegetarianism and veganism have gained in popularity, leading to falling meat sales, while the animal rights movement is an increasingly visible presence in the media, led by campaigning actress Brigitte Bardot. READ MORE


The rise of ‘local’ fish: It is common for an American fish to be caught in the United States, frozen whole, and sent to China, where it is defrosted, boned, refrozen, and sent back to the states double frozen. Triple and quadruple freezing also occurs. And large portion of the fish that we import, often tuna, is caught illegally, sometimes using the labor of slaves. That’s why companies that boast of “local” fish have some cachet, and why the story of Sea to Table is so disturbing.

Barn fire kills thousands of pigs: Approximately 5,000 pigs were killed in a barn fire in Fayette County, Ohio, last week, according to the Fayette County sheriff’s office. The fire started around 1 p.m. at the Straathoff Swine Farm on Old Route 35 in the southeastern part of the county. READ MORE


Tobacco built on child labor: Child labor is rampant in tobacco farming and on the increase in poorer countries, according to an investigation by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, despite of claims by multibillion-dollar companies that they are tackling the issue. Children aged 14 and under are kept out of school and employed in hard and sometimes harmful physical labor to produce the tobacco leaf that fills cigarettes sold internationally, including in the United States. Families are trapped in generational poverty while salaries at the top of the industry run to millions of dollars a year. READ MORE


Top 10 food safety mistakes: What has become apparent over the course of the last decade is that all companies that manufacture food products either have already experienced, or eventually will experience, a recall. Over the last 10 years, a handful of food companies have been involved in many recalls, and some of the largest food manufacturers have experienced dozens. READ MORE

More Cyclospora in pre-cut veggies: New parasitic infections linked to Del Monte brand pre-cut fresh vegetables continue to be reported even though the multi-national company initiated a recall on June 8. At least 144 people are confirmed to be infected by Cyclospora cayetanensis a microscopic parasite, according to an outbreak update posted June 21 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cyclospora cayetanensis is typically transmitted by feces or feces-contaminated food and water and is often the cause of so-called traveler’s diarrhea. READ MORE

Critics respond to plan for consolidating food safety efforts: The Trump administration on June 21 unveiled an ambitious plan to consolidate federal food safety efforts within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Currently, 15 agencies throughout the federal government administer 35 different laws related to food safety under the oversight of nine congressional committees. The administration calls this system “illogical” and “fragmented.” READ MORE


Camp may mean tick-borne diseases: In many parts of the United States, this weekend marks the start of summer sleepaway camp season, which means swimming, arts and crafts, marshmallow roasts — and, very often, ticks. Of the more than 1,600 overnight camps that are members of the American Camp Association, more than a third are in New England and the mid-Atlantic states, where Lyme disease is particularly prevalent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. READ MORE