An overhead photo of a plate of chicken Caesar salad on a dark rustic background with a place for text

Romaine recalled—again: A recall of chopped romaine lettuce by Fresh Express, Salinas, Calif., because of concerns about the intestinal parasite Cyclospora  has led Caito Foods of Indianapolis to pull 25 deli salads and wrap products from retailers. Caito Foods is a food distributor specializing in fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing to customers nationwide, including Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walgreen’s.  The list of products recalled includes Caesar salads with chicken, cobb salads, taco salad and chicken Caesar wraps. No illnesses have been linked to any of the products. Fresh DelMonte and McDonald’s also recently recalled produce and salads thought to be contaminated by Cyclospora. Read more HERE and HERE.

Fresh Express sold to McDonald’s, too: Federal officials have confirmed parasites in salad mix that Fresh Express sold to McDonald’s and other unnamed companies. Almost 300 people in 15 states, are confirmed infected. The FDA is relying on Fresh Express, a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands LLC, to make sure other companies that bought its salad mix are no longer using it. Those companies have not been revealed to the public. 

FOOD SAFETY

Did Kerry Inc. supply Kellogg’s? Kerry Inc., which provides a variety of goods and services to the food industry — including coatings that are used on breakfast cereals — is on notice from the FDA for failure to control Salmonella  in its Beloit, Wisc., production plant. The company’s own tests returned repeated positive results for Salmonella for 18 months while it continued to produce and ship cereal, and at least two of those months overlap with an ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to Kellogg’s brand Honey Smacks cereal. FDA has not said whether Kerry Inc. provided services to Kellogg’s. READ MORE

Tackling dual-species biofilms: Researchers in Spain have demonstrated that certain enzyme-based disinfection treatments can significantly weaken dual-species biofilms present in meat, dairy and seafood processing plants. The researchers evaluated the effectiveness of nine commercial enzymatic preparations using seven types of mixed biofilms carrying different environmental strains of L. monocytogenes and accompanying bacteria. The findings indicated that enzyme treatments measurably weakened the structure and cellular integrity of the dual-species biofilms, making such treatments potentially useful as a complement to regular cleaning processes in the manufacturing plant. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Dairy still plans to grow: Last fall at World Dairy Expo, the U.S. Dairy Export Council announced plans to grow dairy exports to 20 percent of U.S. milk production in the next three to five years. Sales had been hovering at about 15 percent of U.S. milk production last year, but then surged past 17 percent this spring. Then came tariffs imposed by Mexico and China in response to President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on many of their exports to the United States. READ MORE

Good news for soybeans: As of July 31, the grain markets held all of the excitement after news hit that China was willing to come back to the negotiating table in regard to tariffs. Soybeans led the charge and gained 28 cents, leaving the $9 resistance level in the dust and settled at $9.19 per bushel. Soybean meal added $7 per ton and closed around $340 per ton. Soybean oil jumped 42 cents to $28.73.  READ MORE

Farmers still concerned: Only 10 percent of farmers responding to a Farm Journal Pulse survey last week expressed confidence in President Trump’s relief plan for farmers affected by new tariffs. Nearly 670 farmers responded to the question: To what degree does President Trump’s $12 billion relief plan for U.S. farmers relieve your concerns about the impact of tariffs on your farm income? Thirty-seven percent of farmers responded “not at all.” Another 24 percent said the plan alleviates their concerns only “somewhat,” while 29 percent percent said they are “not sure.” READ MORE

Oh no, not Coke too! While Coca Cola reported impressive growth and strong earnings earlier this week, the giant beverage company is not immune to the effects of the Trump Administration’s trade war. James Quincey, CEO, said in a report to the Wall Street Journal that Coca Cola would be raising the prices of its carbonated drinks in the middle of the year. This comes as a result of higher costs, particularly higher freight and metal costs, after the U.S. put tariffs on Chinese imports in the last several months. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

A growing catastrophe: A toxic algae bloom sweeping Florida’s southwest coast is being described as the worst in more than a decade, with the so-called red tide blanketing beaches in dead fish and killing sharks, manatees and endangered sea turtles. The aggressive overgrowth, which occurs each year but intensifies with high temperatures, pollution and stagnant water, has become unusually strong since emerging in October, and has stretched into the longest outbreak since 2006, according to state wildlife officials. Fifteen people were recently treated over two days for symptoms consistent with algae toxins after coming in contact with the St. Lucie River, which is near West Palm Beach and Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE

SUSTAINABILITY

Plant-based foods seeing growth: The plant-based foods industry is seeing tremendous growth, with sales up 20% in dollar sales since last year. According to data Plant Based Foods Association commissioned from Nielsen, a leading retail data company, plant-based food sales topped $3.3 billion over the past year. By contrast, total food sales grew only 2 percent. READ MORE

LABOR

How to handle ag labor shortages: Labor shortages are growing across much of the U.S. in the agricultural industry, so farmers need to plan ahead to make sure they’re not in a bind at harvest time. Good employees can be hard to come by, especially in low population, rural communities. If a farmer is considering foreign laborers on H-2A, visas, they need to make sure they understand what is needed to comply. READ MORE

Mississippi poultry supplies to pay $3.75 million: An eight-year legal fight has ended with a Mississippi poultry supplier agreeing to pay $3.75 million and other concessions to Hispanic workers to settle two discrimination lawsuits. Koch Food of Mississippi LLC agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by 11 workers at the Morton plant and another filed on behalf of the workers by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Tortilla chips spontaneously burst into flames: There are numerous ways to add fire to your chips, but we’re pretty certain, this was not the way a tortilla chip warehouse in Austin, Texas, was thinking. The Austin Fire Department reported on its Facebook page that it was called to a fire at a tortilla chip warehouse twice in the same week to respond to spontaneously combusting tortilla chips. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

A cool way to vaccinate raccoons: Racoons in select areas of the eastern U.S. will get more than they expect when they chow down on the one-inch-square cubes coated with a fishmeal attractant that will soon be dropped from airplanes in rural areas and distributed via helicopter or ground vehicle in urban and suburban areas. They’ll also be getting an oral rabies vaccine, courtesy of the USDA’s Wildlife Services program. The vaccines are designed to prohibit the spread of rabies into other areas. READ MORE

ANIMAL HEALTH

Coalition aims to promote animal welfare: Seven multinational food companies have established a coalition to speed up the development of animal welfare standards worldwide. The companies — Nestlé, Unilever, Ikea Food Services, Aramark, Compass Group, Elior Group and Sodexo — launched the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare (GCAW) in July, noting that 70 percent of the more than 70 billion animals farmed for food each year experience poor animal welfare standards. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Heat, wind, and fire create vicious fire: The vicious Carr Fire near Redding, Calif., has already torched more than 121,000 acres, an area larger than Denver, since igniting on July 23. Flames have destroyed more than 1,000 homes in and around Redding, a town 200 miles north of San Francisco and home to 90,000 residents. Carr is now the seventh most destructive fire in state history and the most destructive ever for Shasta County. The fire, which has killed at least six people,  is so large and so hot, it has created its own weather system and melted boats on Whiskeytown Lake. Residents reported seeing fire tornadoes, and the rising smoke and ash created towering, dark pyrocumulus clouds. READ MORE

WEIRD NEWS

An anti-bug legislator: Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has come out as anti-bug. He proposed an amendment to an appropriations bill to block taxpayer funding for research into edible insects; at the moment, the maximum amount of money that can go to one of those research projects is $100,000. He stated in a brief interview to reporters that his objection was fiscal. “Why in the world?” he said. “I think the best they can do is about $38 a pound and you can buy beef or pork for you know, $3.80. So I just don’t see the sense.” READ MORE