Genetic strain from cattle feedlot matches outbreak strain: Since last March, more than 200 people were sickened and five died as a result of eating romaine lettuce contaminated by E. coli. The CDC was able to trace the lettuce back to Yuma, Ariz., but from there the trail was confusing, leading to numerous farms and processing plants. Months later, the FDA has a theory, suggesting the contamination came from a large cattle feedlot at one end of a valley near Yuma. E. coli that exactly matched the genetic strain that had made people sick turned up in canals that carry water to many of Yuma’s vegetable farms. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

From cow’s gut to humans: Ireland is in the midst of one of its largest E. coli O157 outbreaks ever, with hundreds having been infected, according to Alan Reilly, former chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. He expressed his concerns to Food Safety News, noting that the natural habitat for E. coli O157 is the gut of cattle. Current cases seem to be linked to produce. How is E. coli getting from the gut of the cattle into humans? READ MORE

Watch out for products with liquid nitrogen: The FDA is alerting consumers and retailers to the potential for serious injury from eating, drinking, or handling food products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen at the point of sale, immediately before consumption. These products, often marketed with names such as “Dragon’s Breath,” “Heaven’s Breath,” “nitro puff,” may be sold in malls, food courts, kiosks and state or local fairs. Products  include liquid nitrogen-infused colorful cereal or cheese puffs, which emit a misty or smoke-like vapor. Drinks prepared with liquid nitrogen also emit a fog. READ MORE

FDA defends coffee: The FDA has stepped into a simmering debate in California over whether coffee should come with a cancer warning label. In a letter sent yesterday to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessments, FDA argues that even though the process of roasting coffee can form acrylamide, the beverage should be exempt from the state’s Proposition 65 requirement, which mandates that products warn consumers when they contain cancer-causing chemicals. Read more HERE and HERE 

This chicken may be kosher, but… One person has died and 16 others have become ill from a Salmonella outbreak linked to kosher chicken sold by Empire Kosher, the CDC said Wednesday. Eight people have been hospitalized, including the person who died. Illnesses were reported in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The death was reported in New York. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Pork farmers say they prefer free trade: The Iowa Pork Producers Association says details announced Aug. 27 by USDA on assistance for pork producers harmed by trade disruptions is a small positive step. However, Iowa’s pig farmers are more interested in having the Trump Administration continue its efforts to solve various trade disputes that are creating economic losses for them and their rural Iowa communities. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Trucking labor shortage causing increase in food prices: A labor crunch in the trucking industry is making it more expensive to deliver everything from apples to zucchini.  According to Freight Transportation Research Associates, U.S. shipping rates jumped 14 percent in the year ending June 30, meaning restaurants too are facing higher prices. To avoid passing them along to customers, many are shopping closer to home. READ MORE

The promise of hydroponics: Behind a blue wall that seals a former highway tunnel stretches a massive indoor farm where fruits and vegetables grow hydroponically — with no soil — in vertically stacked layers illuminated by neon-pink LEDs instead of sunlight. Operators of this high-tech facility in South Korea say it is the world’s first indoor vertical farm built in a tunnel. Indoor vertical farming is seen as a potential solution to the havoc wreaked on crops by the extreme weather linked to climate change and to shortages of land and workers in countries with aging populations. READ MORE

What to do about ugly produce: The USDA reports that food loss and waste consume nearly 40 percent of the U.S. food supply. Consumers’ rejection of safe and edible but aesthetically unattractive fruits and vegetables is a major contributor, with farmers discarding as much as 30 percent of produce simply because it is not “pretty enough” for retail sale. Retailers dump another 10 percent (43 billion pounds worth $15.4 billion) of edible fruits and vegetables each year, and consumers throw out 90 billion pounds annually. Globally, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. What to do? READ MORE

Don’t make those Frenchmen mad! Mounted on tractors and wielding flares, angry farmers came from all corners of France to say to Chinese investors: get off our land. More than 100 farmers swarmed on a Chinese-owned field in the Indre region of central France on Wednesday, occupying it in protest at what they say is financial speculation. A spokesperson for the Farmers’ Confederation said the land should be used to provide for farmers’ families and to provide food. READ MORE

ANIMAL HEALTH

Rabid cow exposes three: A cow in Oconee County, S.C., has tested positive for rabies after potentially exposing three people to the disease. The exposure reportedly occurred as the victims provided general care to the cow, which was sent to the University of Georgia for testing after it appeared sick. Agricultural animals are not required to receive rabies vaccinations under South Carolina state law, although a USDA-approved vaccine is available for cows, horses and sheep. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Food politics: The California Democratic Party chairman is calling for a boycott of In-N-Out Burger after it was revealed this week that the fast food chain donated $25,000 to the California Republican Party. According to campaign finance filings, In-N-Out Burger also donated $30,000 last year and $50,000 this year to Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy, a political action committee that supports business-friendly Democratic candidates. Read more HERE and HERE.

Argentina’s financial crisis: Argentina is struggling to cope with yet another financial crisis. Investors are increasingly concerned Latin America’s third-largest economy could soon default as it struggles to repay heavy government borrowing. This comes after Argentina’s government unexpectedly asked for the early release of a $50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday. The Argentine peso crashed to record lows on the news. READ MORE