Reductions of protein, iron and zinc expected: Harvard researchers say rising levels of carbon dioxide could make crops less nutritious and damage the health of hundreds of millions of people, with those living in some of the world’s poorest regions likely to be hardest hit. Previous research has shown that many food crops become less nutritious when grown under the CO2 levels expected by 2050, with reductions of protein, iron and zinc estimated at 3–17 percent. Now experts say such changes could mean that by the middle of the century about 175 million more people could develop a zinc deficiency, while 122 million people who are not currently protein deficient could become so. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

A link between poultry and UTIs? Researchers reported yesterday that a specific strain of E. coli found in 80 percent of the retail poultry and pork they tested matches the strain found in patients with urinary tract infections. Routine testing at poultry farms, however, does not screen for that strain. The year-long longitudinal study involved testing chicken, turkey and pork purchased from every major grocery chain in Flagstaff, Ariz. The research team also tested E. coli isolates from urine and blood samples collected from patients at Flagstaff Medical Center. READ MORE

BSE in Florida: A six-year-old mixed-breed beef cow in Florida has tested positive for atypical H-type Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE, USDA said. The animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply or to human health, the agency said. READ MORE

Prop 65 deadline has companies scrambling: The fast-approaching Aug. 30 deadline for California’s Proposition 65 has food manufacturers of all sizes working to make sure affected labels comply with the new labeling requirements. Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about “significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.” READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Hardship forces dairy producers to cull herds: Hardship on both sides of the Atlantic is forcing dairy producers to cull heavily, which is expected to slow gains in world milk production. U.S. dairy producers sent nearly 61,000 adult dairy cows to slaughter during the week ending Aug. 11—the largest weekly slaughter volume in more than 30 years, since 1986. That year brought implementation of the 1985 Farm Bill dairy buy-out program to remove 12 billion pounds of milk per year from the market. The large-scale culling in early August appears to be the result of producers attempting to improve cash flow rather than making room for higher -producing cows. In Europe, severe drought and high temperatures have brought problems. READ MORE

THE FUTURE

Tofurkey challenges new Missouri meat law: A new Missouri law prohibiting food manufacturers from using the word “meat” on products made without animal flesh is being legally challenged even before it goes into effect next week. The law, which goes into effect Sept. 4, already is being challenged in a lawsuit filed by Oregon-based Tofurky, the manufacturer of vegetarian products developed using plant-based sources but labeled as hot dogs, sausages, burgers, roasts and other food products. The lawsuit includes the advocacy group the Good Food Institute as a co-plaintiff. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Payments start Sept. 4: USDA will send incremental payments to soybeans, sorghum, wheat, corn, pork, dairy, and cotton producers through the Market Facilitation Program starting on Sept. 4. Of the total pie of $4.7 billion in direct payment aid based on 50 percent of actual production or inventory, $3.6 billion will be for soybean farmers, $277 million for cotton, $290 million for pork, $127 million for dairy, $156 million for sorghum, $119 million for wheat and $96 million for corn. Not everyone is happy about how the pie is being divided up. READ MORE

RESTAURANT SECURITY

Some restaurant owners are losing their appetite for customers who don’t disconnect during dinner. Especially in New York, a city where people are seemingly addicted to talking and texting, some eateries are requesting diners put down the phone and focus on the person or people in front of them. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Hawaii still facing flooding: Flash flood warnings were issued on Tuesday for the Hawaiian island of Kauai, with residents on the north coast told to evacuate and others left stranded by high water as the remnants of Hurricane Lane drenched the archipelago and a new storm brewed in the Pacific Ocean. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

A ‘Mediterranean-style crisis’: UN officials say the flow of Venezuelan refugees into neighboring countries is building to a Mediterranean-style crisis. More than 7 percent of Venezuela’s population—2.3 million people—has fled the country since 2014, according to the United Nations. That is the equivalent of the U.S. losing the whole population of Florida in four years (plus another 100,000 people, give or take). READ MORE

JUST INTERESTING

Can consumers rely on US Organic seal? The 10-year-old Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy institute, is once again telling the public to do some homework before purchasing organic foods. The institute has just published a “scorecard” on organic dairy products after previously publishing consumer scorecards for eggs, soy foods, breakfast cereals, and other certified organic products. Cornucopia’s work suggests consumers can no longer rely only on the USDA Organic seal. READ MORE

KFC plans Israel expansion: Back in 2013, the New York Times reported that KFC was being smuggled into Gaza through tunnels, and the smugglers were charging a steep $27 for 12-piece bucket. Now, KFC reportedly plans to open 100 franchised units in Israel. The company has failed to succeed in the Israeli market in the past; the main reason  cited for the chain’s repeated failures is the difficulty in making the Colonel’s milk-based recipe kosher. READ MORE

Robot will protect reefs from lionfish: Usually animal preservation is a passive effort, creating protected zones or taking other measures to protect plants and animals from humans. But scientists and students at the Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts want to help protect coral reefs from an invasive species in a more aggressive fashion: They’re building a robot designed to autonomously hunt for and harvest lionfish threatening coral reefs. READ MORE