Naples, USA - April 29, 2018: Florida pink, red and orange sunset in gulf of Mexico with sign for red tide dead fish algae bloom warning

iStock photo

Can clay particles, phages, or ozone stop the bloom? In southwest Florida, a nearly unprecedented 10-month-long “red tide” has killed hordes of marine animals. Red tides occur worldwide and are caused by a variety of algal species. The culprit behind Florida’s outbreak is Karenia brevis, which releases  neurotoxic compounds potentially lethal to wildlife and causing neurological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal problems in humans. Researchers say that Florida’s outbreak is part of a global trend and that we are seeing more red tides in more places, lasting longer and having greater impacts. Two key contributing factors are increasing nutrient run-off from farms, lawns, and other sources, and changes in precipitation and storm patterns occurring as a result of climate change. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY & SUSTAINABILITY

‘Cellular aquaculture’ gets a big boost: BlueNalu, a pioneer in the field of “cellular aquaculture,” announced Wednesday the closing of a $4.5 million in seed investment, just two months after announcing the launch of the company. BlueNalu says its cellular aquaculture process will provide an alternative to current farmed and wild-caught fish. The company plans to produce real seafood products directly from fish cells. READ MORE

Neocotinoid alternative may be bad for bees, too: Attempts to find a new generation of pesticides to replace neonicotinoids have been dealt a potential blow. Neonicotinoids are the most commonly used insecticide in the world, but had been linked to bee declines. Studies suggest a new type of pesticide seen as an alternative to the chemicals, which have been banned in many countries, may have similar risks. READ MORE

USDA will purchase chicken, beef: USDA has announced plans to purchase up to $60 million in chicken products and an unspecified amount of beef for distribution to various food nutrition assistance programs. The program will benefit financially stressed families, group feeding kitchens, disaster-relief operations, schools and consumers needing food assistance, said National Chicken Council president Mike Brown. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Advocacy group says oat products contain glyphosate: The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental advocacy organization, said Wednesday that small amounts of the pesticide glyphosate were found in all but five of 29 oat-based foods that EWG tested. EWG scientists maintain the levels are unsafe for children, although the amounts are minuscule compared to levels considered safe by EPA. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, and experts disagree about whether it is a carcinogen. READ MORE

Germany says no to glyphosate: Use of glyphosate-based weed-killers should be halted during the current legislative period which ends in three years, the German environment ministry said Monday. Shares of Germany’s Bayer fell more than 10 percent on Monday after a California jury ordered Bayer’s Monsanto unit to pay $289 million for not warning of cancer risks posed by Roundup. Monsanto faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Trade talk scheduled: In an attempt to solve the trade conflict between the U.S. and China, Beijing will send a delegation to meet with U.S. counterparts in Washington later this month. The Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen, while the U.S. team is led by Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website. The last round of talks was in early June. READ MORE

Like weight loss? Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Fox News on Wednesday that President Trump’s tariffs on imports from China, the European Union and other nations are “a little bit like weight loss … it’s kind of painful to start with, but you’re healthier in the end.” However, Perdue also acknowledged “legitimate anxiety over the tariffs and the pain they’ve caused.” READ MORE

RESTAURANT SECURITY

Some people really hate straight-cut fries: Owners of a Maine restaurant known for serving up hot dogs say they’ve encountered “disturbing and hostile customers” in recent weeks in response to a change on their menu — swapping out crinkle-cut fries for straight-cut fries. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Venezuelans losing access to cheap gas: President Nicolas Maduro took to the airwaves Monday night to tell Venezuelan drivers that the days of being able to fill up their tanks with some of the cheapest gasoline in the world were over. From Aug. 15-17, drivers must register to receive subsidies for gasoline purchases, and those who do not will have to pay international prices for fuel. READ MORE

WEIRD STUFF

An epic noodle heist: Police in Fayette County, Ga., say someone made off with nearly $100,000 in packages of ramen noodles sometime in July or August. A 53-foot, locked truck and trailer was parked at a Fayette County Chevron on July 25 with permission from the owner. Someone stole the truck and the noodles. Police think the theft is related to others in the area. READ MORE