One study says ‘yes’: Forget Activia. Crickets may soon become the next probiotic trend. According to a study published in Scientific Reports in July — the first clinical trial of its kind — crickets may actually increase enzymes in the stomach that aid metabolism. The two-week study followed 20 men and women who consumed either a bug-free breakfast or 25 grams of crickets in a powdered form made into muffins and shakes. READ MORE

ANIMAL HEALTH

Abusing pets to get opioids? Veterinarians in Colorado are concerned that some of their clients may have intentionally hurt their pets in the hopes of receiving prescription painkillers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health and a local veterinary association. Of the 189 veterinarians surveyed, 13 percent reported they had seen a client who they believed had purposefully injured a pet, made them ill, or made them appear to be unwell. Close to 45 percent said they knew of a pet owner or member of their team who was abusing opioids. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Safe oysters: The USDA has given more than $450,000 for a research project designed to increase the safety of certain commercially farmed oysters from the Gulf Coast that are “bound for the premium half-shell market.” Auburn University marine scientist Bill Walton will study whether an oyster farm’s geographic location, handling practices, and choice of equipment affect Vibrio levels in farm-raised oysters. READ MORE

Produce safety practices vary: A new USDA report provides insight into how food safety practices vary among U.S. fruit and vegetable growers and the costs associated with them. Survey data provides the first update of national produce safety practices since 1999, before microbial contamination of produce became widely recognized and researched. READ MORE

More victims of parasite outbreak: In the past week, another 41 people were confirmed infected by Cyclospora parasites in an outbreak traced to Fresh Express salad mix used in salads sold by McDonald’s. Of the 436 sick people, 20 have had such severe symptoms that they had to be admitted to hospitals, according to this week’s update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State health departments have not reported any deaths in the 15-state outbreak. READ MORE

Antibiotic resistance differs by country: Levels of antibiotic resistance in the intestinal tracts of broilers and pigs are linked to antibiotic usage, according to the results of a pan-European study. The international team found that the quantity and type of resistance genes present in the intestinal tracts differed according to the type of animal and country. The team visited 178 broiler and 181 pig farms in nine European Union countries, collecting more than 9,000 animal dung samples. READ MORE

City considers strictest food allergy law: Edison, N.J., is considering what could be one of the strictest food allergy laws in the country. If approved, the law would force restaurants and caterers to make every single ingredient public — even secret recipes. Some allergists, however, say there’s a simpler way for restaurants to be food safe without giving away secret recipes by just listing the most common allergens such as Milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. READ MORE

Food may have contained organophosphates: At least nine people have died and dozens became ill after eating contaminated food at a funeral in the Peruvian Andes, authorities said last week. The food appeared to have contained organophosphates, a family of chemicals used in pesticides. Public prosecutors have taken samples of food and beverages served at the funeral for testing, the attorney general’s office said in a statement. READ MORE

Salmonella outbreak in Missouri: Missouri’s Perry County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) is reporting at least 23 cases of Salmonella have been diagnosed since  August 6. And more than 30 cases may be involved in the outbreak, according to the Perry County Health Department, which does not yet know the source of the infections. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Missouri farmworkers housed in ‘inhumane’ conditions: Missouri farmworkers who were housed in an “inhumane and unhealthy” former jail, employed in “unsanitary work environments” and then paid less than they were owed have gotten help from the U.S. Labor Department. Marin J Corp. of Avon Park, Fla., consented to a preliminary injunction sought by federal labor officials after witnessing the plight of the company’s 107 temporary farmworkers near the Missouri Bootheel town of Kennett. The company was responsible for the workers’ housing, feeding and care under the federal H-2A program, which allows foreign workers to enter the United States for temporary employment in agriculture. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

European drought especially hard on vegetables: Europe’s prolonged extreme drought has caused the most severe problems to the EU vegetable sector in the last 40 years, according to the European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors (PROFEL). The association said the frozen and canned vegetable sector has been most affected, where field losses have resulted in reduced and irregular deliveries of fresh vegetables to the processing factories, leading to increased production costs and fewer products processed. READ MORE.
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FOOD SECURITY

Farmed salmon escape: Somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 fish escaped from Cooke Aquaculture’s Hermitage Bay salmon farm on Newfoundland’s south coast last month, the company confirms. A company spokesperson said the fish that escaped did not have infectious salmon anemia (ISA) and were not being treated for any parasites such as sea lice. Still, there are concerns that escaped farm salmon endanger the wild salmon population. Read more HERE  and HERE

Is organic grain worth it: America imports staggering amounts of organic grain from abroad—which allows for sleight of hand during shipping and opens the door to tainted feed. Modern Farmer asks if consumers who shell out for organic meat eating a bunch of bull? READ MORE

Monsanto suffers major blow: Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages. Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. READ MORE 

EPA must revoke food tolerances on chlorpyrifos: The EPA has 60 days to revoke all food tolerances and cancel all registrations for the widely used insecticide chlorpyrifos following a Court of Appeals decision. EPA had proposed to ban food tolerances for the chemical, but former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt issued an order in March 2017 that  “declined to revoke chlorpyrifos tolerances.” Farmworker groups, environmentalists and public health advocates had petitioned and then sued EPA to ban the insecticide, which is used on a wide variety of crops, including corn, soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli and many others. READ MORE

RESTAURANT SECURITY

Woman dead in McDonald’s shooting: A woman is dead following a shooting in the drive-thru of the McDonald’s restaurant in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The woman was ordering when someone walked up and shot her, Sgt. Marc Musser said. Officers found her in a silver Chrysler 300 sedan about 8:30 a.m. after being called to the scene. She had at least one gunshot wound, apparently to the neck or head, and died at the hospital. READ MORE

Historic tea room trashed: A historic tea room used by famous poets and scholars has been trashed by thieves who caused more than £5,000 worth of damage. Two hooded men used sledgehammers to smash their way into the Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester, Cambridge, on Thursday night, making off with around £300 in staff tips and £500 worth of alcohol. The 120-year-old cafe, set in an orchard by the River Cam, has been enjoyed by poet Rupert Brooke, author Virginia Woolf, Crick and Watson – the discoverers of DNA and renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

A holy water mystery: Mystery surrounds how worshippers ended up with “tingling faces” and headaches after signing themselves with holy water at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. A number of Catholic tourists were taken ill after attending a service at the famous cathedral in the French capital over the weekend. There was speculation the water had been poisoned, but police concluded there was no risk to the public. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Shockwaves in South Africa: Shockwaves are still being felt in South Africa after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the country’s constitution is to be changed to explicitly allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. Markets reacted negatively and the currency, the rand, has continued to plummet over the last week. The plan has invited comparisons to the chaotic land reform program in neighboring Zimbabwe, which saw scenes of violent evictions of mainly white farmers. READ MORE