AMLO is leading in polling: The upcoming presidential election this Sunday in Mexico bears close watching by U.S. food corporations.  Avowed leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, commonly referred to as AMLO, is leading in polling and felt by many to be the likely winner. The potential negative impacts on U.S. national security, trade (including the survival of NAFTA) and the U.S. food supply are quite serious. AMLO is expected by many analysts to rapidly move toward the nationalization of corporate assets. U.S./Mexico relations, already not good, are also expected by many analysts to further and rapidly deteriorate. If realized, further calls for sealing the border, starting with the construction of a wall, are also likely to occur.  The long-term implications of a hard-left government on our border are very problematic, given that U.S.-based corporations will flee Mexico, salvaging what assets they can as they exit. A repeat of a Venezuela-like scenario are not out of the question. This is a humanitarian crisis in the making, and if played out as expected a major hit on both the U.S. and Mexican economies. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Pork exports in trouble: In March, the U.S. exported  some 1,000 metric tons per week of pork to China,  then 300 metric tons a week in May. Last week, that total dropped to zero. The effect of tariffs on U.S. pork has only started to be felt and will only get worse from here, analysts say. READ MORE

Dairy farmers and cheesemakers also hard hit: As the country faces retaliatory tariffs from other countries, dairy farmers and cheesemakers are anxiously waiting to see what will happen to the products they typically sell overseas. Mexico, for example, is America’s largest exporter for cheese, absorbing more than a quarter of all the cheese that leaves the United States. In April, the European Union signed a deal with Mexico to slash tariffs on European dairy and offer protections for European cheese, blocking American companies from using those labels. READ MORE

Ag secretary explains problem with China: In 2011, a group of Chinese nationals dug up genetically engineered seeds from an Iowa corn field and planned to steal and send them back to China, so they could be reverse engineered. Those seeds, the result of years of research and millions of dollars of American investment, now stand as one of countless pieces of evidence in the case against China for intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices. READ MORE

And farmers may see assistance program: The USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. could potentially borrow up to $30 billion from the Treasury Department and extend that money to farm groups hurt by retaliatory tariffs, says an analyst writing for AgWeb. If U.S. farmers see orders from China plummet because of  new layers of tariffs on imports, the White House has previously said it wants to set up an assistance program for the U.S. ag sector (including the livestock industry, row crop producers, and fruits and vegetable farmers). READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Shortage of migrant workers results in lost crops: Vegetable prices may be going up soon, as a shortage of migrant workers is resulting in lost crops in California. Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News. READ MORE

In UK, CO2 shortage hits poultry biz: A chicken shortage could hit supermarkets in the United Kingdom as the food industry braces for a shortage of CO2. Poultry slaughterhouses have called for priority supplies of dwindling CO2 stocks, saying the current shortage could have a “potentially huge effect” on British food production. READ MORE

And they’re not the only ones: A shortage of carbon dioxide that has already drawn warnings from beer makers about potential production problems is also hitting British food processing companies. The British government prioritizes carbon dioxide for use in hospitals and fire-extinguishers, so companies that use the gas for manufacturing — to make fizzy drinks or process meat, for example — are being supplied with less. Industrial carbon dioxide is obtained as a byproduct in the production of fertilizers. READ MORE

What will people want to eat in 2050? Will we be able to produce enough food to feed a more populated and likely richer world in 2050?  The answer to this question depends not just on what technologies we develop but also on what people in different parts of the world will want to eat in 2050. READ MORE

North Carolinians can still sue hog farms: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a controversial bill that would have made it more difficult to sue hog producers for allegedly being a nuisance and dragging down neighbors’ property values. READ MORE

The forecast is hot and dry: Farmers in the Midwest, namely Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, can expect more hot, dry weather in the coming weeks. This could hit corn at especially critical times, such as pollination and the start of grain fill. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Did glyphosate cause his cancer? The San Francisco Superior Court will soon hear testimony from a man dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who claims Roundup (glyphosate) caused his cancer. This trial is the first of many against Monsanto under claims that use of its widely-used herbicide leads to cancer. READ MORE

Bad tick season ahead: Experts say that this year’s tick season is shaping up to be possibly the worst in recent memory. Beyond Lyme disease and other tick-borne ailments, a new threat is emerging from ticks whose bites can prompt an allergy to red meat. READ MORE

And farmer suicides soar: The unequal economy that’s emerged over the past decade, combined with patchy access to health care in rural areas, have had a severe impact on the people growing America’s food. Recent data shows just how much. Farmers are dying by suicide at a higher rate than any other occupational group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). READ MORE

RESTAURANT SECURITY

Now we’ve heard everything: A man accused of throwing a three-foot live alligator through a fast food restaurant’s drive-thru has handed himself in after more than two years on the run. Joshua James was picking up an order at Wendy’s in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, when the alleged incident took place. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Meat processor was already in trouble: The Ohio-based meat processor where 146 workers were arrested by U.S. immigration officials had been fined $211,000 for alleged workplace safety problems just two weeks before the raid this month. READ MORE

ANIMAL HEALTH

California group seeks law to limit animal confinement: A group of organizations seeking to change laws regarding the confinement of animals on farms has received a spot on the ballot for the November 2018 election in California. Prevent Cruelty California said its measure requires cage-free housing and improved space requirements for three types of animals usually confined to small cages on farms, including egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves. READ MORE

JUST INTERESTING

‘Craft meats’ attract investors: Population growth and rising disposable income have contributed to an increase in meat consumption, and rising demand coupled with healthy living trends and a craving for all things natural and organic, are refining palates for “artisan meats.” Changing food preferences are taking niche protein markets mainstream, and grass-fed beef producers are getting attention from investors. READ MORE

The birth of the ice cream parlor: During the 19th century, restaurants catered to a predominately male clientele; they were places where men went to socialize, discuss business, and otherwise escape the responsibilities of work and home. It was considered inappropriate for women to dine alone, and those who did were assumed to be prostitutes. So the growing demand for ladies’ lunch spots inspired the creation of an entirely new restaurant: the ice-cream saloon. READ MORE

HSUS targets check-off funds: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been lobbying members of the U.S. Senate this past week to support an amendment in the Farm Bill that prohibits “certain practices relating to certain commodity promotion programs, to require greater transparency by those programs, and for other purposes.” The amendment would dramatically limit the use of commodity group check-off funds.  READ MORE