Growers reporting losses after temps soar: California avocado growers are reporting crop loss after temperatures reached 115 degrees in the week of July 6, The Packer reports. It is unsure of how many crops were destroyed. Fruit drop associated with the heat is expected to reduce supply and potentially increase the price of avocados marketed in August, however, some suppliers expect some volume to extend until Labor Day. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Wild horses pushed to the brink: Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and spurring extreme measures to protect them. For what they say is the first time, volunteer groups in Arizona and Colorado are hauling thousands of gallons of water and truckloads of food to remote grazing grounds where springs have run dry and vegetation has disappeared. READ MORE

Record power use in Texas: Homes and businesses in Texas will likely use record amounts of power again on Monday as consumers keep their air conditioners cranked up on what is expected to be the last day of a week-long heat wave, the operator of much of the state’s power grid said. READ MORE

Another deadly wildfire: A deadly wildfire southeast of The Dalles is being investigated as suspected arson, according to Doug Grafe, the Fire Protection Division Chief with the Oregon Department of Forestry. The fire has burned more than 50,000 acres and forced several communities to evacuate, and destroyed much of a wheat corp ready for harvest. Read more HERE and HERE

Helping livestock in the heat: Producers with livestock in confinement can take steps to prevent heat stress during periods of high temperatures, elevated humidity, low wind speeds and high solar radiation. Veterinarians and animal scientists say effective strategies include feeding schedules that avoid the internal heat build-up animals experience with normal digestion during the hottest part of the day. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

Water company charged with illegal wastewater disposal: The California company that sells Crystal Geyser bottled water has been charged with illegally disposing of arsenic-tainted wastewater, federal prosecutors said last Thursday. The charges don’t allege that CG Roxane LLC sold tainted water, but that it illegally shipped and disposed of the toxic waste filtered from well water. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Hundred-year-old dairy ‘idled’: Last week, the nation’s largest cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), announced plans to “idle” a plant in Hughson, California because of changing market conditions. The plant, which was originally built more than 100 years ago and rebuilt following a fire in 1929, produces cream, butter, condensed skim milk and nonfat dry milk. READ MORE

Meat piling up in cold storage: Meat is piling up in U.S. cold-storage warehouses, fueled by a surge in supplies and trade disputes that are eroding demand. Federal data, coming as early as Monday, are expected to show a record level of beef, pork, poultry and turkey being stockpiled in U.S. facilities, rising above 2.5 billion pounds, agricultural analysts said. READ MORE

Farm labor continues to be issue: For years, labor has been a major issue on farms throughout the country. Now, farmers are looking to new outlets to find employees and alleviate the shortage. Joe Del Bosque, farmer who grows cantaloupe, cherries, almonds and other fruits and vegetables in California, says the labor shortage combined with the heat is taking a toll on his workers. In California, temperatures have consistently been in the triple digits. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Ritzy recall: Mondelez Global says it’s voluntarily recalling some of its Ritz Cracker products over potential risk of Salmonella contamination. The Hanover, New Jersey-based company says it’s recalling 16 varieties of Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Ritz Bits products in the U.S. The products contain whey powder, which its supplier has recalled due to the potential presence of Salmonella. READ MORE

Pediatricians say limit use of plastic: A major pediatricians’ group is urging families to limit the use of plastic food containers, cut down on processed meat during pregnancy and consume more whole fruits and vegetables rather than processed food. Such measures would lower children’s exposures to chemicals in food and food packaging that are tied to health problems such as obesity, the group says. READ MORE

SECURITY

Questions about Trader Joe shooting: As an armed 28-year-old, Gene Atkins, ran through a crowded Los Angeles Trader Joe’s parking lot toward a store filled with dozens of shoppers and employees,the officers chasing him had a decision to make. In the gun battle that followed, the store’s manager was killed as she stepped into the parking lot, and now some are questioning the police decision to engage. READ MORE 

Toronto gunman: A 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman have died after a gunman opened fire on a busy avenue in Canada’s largest city, police say. Thirteen other people, ranging in age between 10 and 59, were injured in the attack in the Greektown district of Toronto, police chief Mark Saunders told reporters. READ MORE

JUST INTERESTING

Two yeast species actually the same: Two species of yeast, one of which is used in the biotechnology and food industries to make bioethanol and sourdough bread, while the other causes yeast infections, have been found to be one and the same, according to research published in PLOS Pathogens today (July 19). And, the researchers report, fungi from both settings are similarly resistant to antifungal drugs. READ MORE

Vomit fraud: The next time you use Uber, check your bill. The trip could turn out to be expensive — not just for the distance but for a type of fraud that is on the rise. It’s called “vomit fraud,” a scam repeatedly denounced in social networks yet still taking place around the world. READ MORE