Hand inserts a molecule into DNA concept design.

Editing our food’s DNA: A researcher with the biotech firm Calyxt is working the controls of a boxy robot that whirs like an arcade claw machine, dropping blips of DNA into tubes with pipettes. It’s building an enzyme that rewrites DNA — and transforming food and agriculture in the process. Thanks to a cutting-edge technology called gene editing, scientists can now turn plant genes “on” and “off” almost as easily as Calyxt scientists flip a switch to illuminate the rows of tender soybean plants growing in their lab. READ MORE

TARIFFS

India says it will fill gap as Chinese imports from U.S. decline: India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry is predicting that Indian-made products can fill much of the gap in the Chinese commodity markets created by departing U.S. exports fleeing the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing. A study published earlier this week identified at least a 100 markets that Indian analysts believe their products could replace U.S. exports to China because Indian-made goods will not be subject to the higher import tariffs that Beijing is starting to impose on products originating in America. The markets include cotton, corn, almonds, wheat and sorghum. READ MORE

Will Trump move ahead with tariff plans? President Donald Trump wants to move ahead with a plan to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports as soon as a public-comment period concludes next week, six people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Companies and members of the public have until Sept. 6 to submit comments on the proposed duties, which cover everything from selfie sticks to semiconductors. READ MORE

WATER

Lakes Mead and Powell drying up: Water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are dropping to dangerous levels, reflecting the Colorado River’s worsening “structural deficit,” scientists from the Colorado River Research Group say, noting that Lake Powell has declined because of extra water releases flowing into Lake Mead. Lake Powell is about 48 percent full, and Lake Mead is about 38 percent full. The Colorado River basin, which feeds the two reservoirs, has been drying out over the last two decades. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Mile-a-minute weed spreading: An invasive weed from East Asia, the so-called mile-a-minute weed, continues its march westward, finding its way into Iowa this year. The weed, which was introduced in Pennsylvania, has been found as far west as Indiana and Kentucky, with one outlier in Oregon. The vine is part of the smartweed (Polygonaceae) family and can reach up to 20 feet long, forming mats that crowd out native species. READ MORE

Another lawsuit alleges chicken price-fixing: Another retailer has filed a lawsuit in a federal court accusing Tyson Foods Inc., Perdue Farms and more than 15 other chicken companies of working together to inflate chicken prices over an eight-year period. The complaint from BJ’s Warehouse Club filed in an Illinois federal court last week accuses producers of artificially limiting the number of chickens brought to market by destroying eggs and breeder hens in a coordinated attempt to raise prices. READ MORE

Dairy farmers receive proceeds from class-action lawsuit: Thousands of Northeast dairy farmers are receiving their share of a $50 million settlement, nearly nine years after some farmers filed a class-action lawsuit against a national dairy marketing cooperative. Dairy Farmers of America last week paid an average of $4,000 to nearly 9,000 farms to settle a lawsuit that accused the marketing group of trying to drive down milk prices. READ MORE

Cranberry farmers want to dump part of crop: Cranberry farmers buried under a glut of the tart fruit are seeking permission for a radical way to dig themselves out: destroying millions of pounds of their crops. After struggling with an oversupply of the berries for nearly two decades, growers around the country are asking USDA for authorization to sell 75 percent of the supply and discard the rest. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Cyclospora documented at distribution facility: A special FDA testing program on fresh herbs has documented the first confirmed evidence of the Cyclospora parasite in U.S. produce at a U.S. distribution facility in July and in a follow-up investigation at a farm. Trace-forward efforts do not indicate a connection with multistate outbreaks of cyclosporiasis linked to Del Monte vegetable-dip trays and with salads made with Fresh Express chopped lettuce and carrots and served at McDonald’s. READ MORE

Rare Salmonella serotype sickens 50: Some 50 people in five European nations have been struck down with a rare strain of SalmonellaSalmonella Mikawasima has infected 15 people in Germany, 13 in Sweden, eight in both Denmark and the Czech Republic and six in Austria. The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety told Food Safety News that the sudden accumulation of a rare serotype indicated transmission through an unknown foodstuff. READ MORE

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

California lawmakers mull new fire-prevention legislation: With an urgency sparked by two consecutive years of deadly fires, California lawmakers have sent to Gov. Jerry Brown a collection of proposed laws to bolster prevention efforts and the readiness of residents, along with a controversial plan in which utility companies could pass some wildfire-related costs onto customers. READ MORE

ANIMAL HEALTH

Elephants slaughtered for tusks: Carcasses of nearly 90 elephants slaughtered for their ivory tusks have been found near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, conservationists say. Elephants Without Borders, which is conducting an aerial survey, said the scale of poaching deaths is the largest seen in Africa. The spike coincides with Botswana’s anti-poaching unit being disarmed. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

China’s investment in Africa: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged $60 billion in financing for projects in Africa in the form of assistance, investment and loans, as China furthers efforts to link the continent’s economic prospects to its own. China’s outreach to Africa aims to build trade, investment and political ties with a continent often seen as overlooked by the U.S. and other Western nations. READ MORE