The "impossible burger," made of plant-based "meat."

And FDA says a key ingredient is GRAS: The Impossible Burger seems too good to be true—an entirely plant-based “meat” that looks and smells and tastes like beef (at least, according to some folks). This burger even bleeds like meat, thanks to a yeast modified to carry genes for the soy leghemoglobin protein, normally found in the roots of soy plants. In a major victory for Impossible Foods, which makes the burger, legehemoglobin passed the FDA’s GRAS (“generally recognized as safe”) review. READ MORE

CYBER-SECURITY

Russian hackers could cause blackouts: Hackers working for Russia were able to gain access to the control rooms of U.S. electric utilities last year, allowing them to cause blackouts, federal officials tell the Wall Street Journal. The hackers — working for a state-sponsored group previously identified as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear — broke into utilities’ isolated networks by hacking networks belonging to third-party vendors that had relationships with the power companies, the Department of Homeland Security said Monday. READ MORE

The Cyber Horror Picture Show: Cyberspace is akin to the haunted mansion of a gothic horror movie. Bumps in the night, passing shadows, flickering lights, and screams from afar scare us, and experts have long argued about whether something worse lurks in the basement. How scared should we be? The most recent sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury against Russia suggest the current administration is most concerned by threats to the electric power grid and the telecommunications backbone (notably undersea cables). READ MORE

Google solves phishing problem: Phishing attacks—in which hackers trick you into giving them your password while leaving you none-the-wiser—are one of the most nefarious kinds of cyberattack out there. But Google appears to have settled on an extremely robust solution for protecting its own employees. According to a Google spokesperson the adoption of physical Security Keys has stopped the attacks in their tracks. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Still more cyclosporiasis: The latest report from CDC puts the laboratory-confirmed case count of cyclosporiasis in people who reportedly consumed contaminated Del Monte trays at 237. The infections are in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Seven people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. READ MORE

Whey product recall sends shivers up the product chain: The public doesn’t know how many food companies used potentially contaminated whey powder in their products, how many pounds of whey powder have been recalled, or how many foods will be recalled. Associated Milk Producers Inc., the company that made the powdered dairy ingredient, won’t reveal its customers, including third-party distributors, although a spokesperson said all affected customers had been contacted. Nationwide recalls so far include one flavor of Hungry Man frozen chicken dinners, several brands of Swiss rolls, and several varieties of both Ritz and Goldfish crackers. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

N.C. county supports hog farms: Officials in Pender County, N.C., this week drafted a resolution designed to support local hog farmers and other agribusinesses that may be targeted by lawsuits over alleged environmental pollution violations. The resolution backs up the North Carolina Farm Act of 2018, which state legislators passed last month protect farmers from what were described as “frivolous nuisance lawsuits.” READ MORE

Farmer-supported immigration bill ‘unlikely to pass’: This week, Republicans in the House of Representatives released a new immigration bill to benefit agriculture. According to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer, the Ag and Legal Workforce Act would replace the H-2A visa program and require all employers, including farms, to start using the E-Verify system to make sure workers are legally in the country. While the bill is supported by more than 200 agricultural groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the odds are very low the bill becomes law, according to Wiesemeyer. READ MORE

What else does dicamba drift affect? Dicamba drift—the tendency of the dicamba pesticide to vaporize and float into unintended places—is an established problem for non-treated soybeans. But how does dicamba affect plants other than soybeans? READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Chinese vaccine scandal: Chinese President Xi Jinping has described the country’s latest vaccine scandal as “appalling,” pledging a thorough investigation into China’s worst public health crisis in years. His pledge echoed zero-tolerance directives by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang this weekend in response to revelations that Changsheng Bio-tech had produced inferior DPT (diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus) vaccines for children as young as three months old. READ MORE

TERRORISM

ISIS shifts gears: Months after Iraq declared victory over Islamic State, its fighters are making a comeback with a scatter-gun campaign of kidnap and killing. With its dream of a Caliphate in the Middle East now dead, Islamic State has switched to hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the government in Baghdad, according to military, intelligence and government officials interviewed by Reuters. READ MORE

JUST INTERESTING

No trademark for Kit Kat shape: Even if it looks like a Kit Kat, it might not be. The European Court of Justice has thrown out an appeal by the chocolate bar’s maker, Nestlé, which argued that it owns the shape of the teatime treat. Nestlé has spent more than a decade fighting to trademark the four-fingered wafer shape—something that rival Cadbury had fought hard against. READ MORE