Truck drivers essential for supplying stores quickly: Walmart Inc., pinched by the worsening shortage of truckers, plans to double its spending on attracting and retaining drivers by year-end. The retailer, whose private fleet of 6,500 trucks is one of the largest in the nation, will offer referral bonuses of up to $1,500, shorten the on-boarding process for new hires by more than a month and broadcast its first national TV ad focused on its 7,500 truckers. READ MORE
Hurricane Florence could wreak havoc on ag: If expectations are realized, Hurricane Florence has the potential to wreak havoc on food and fiber agriculture in the affected areas. Cotton is particularly vulnerable, given the phase of its growth. The storm, which intensified to Category 4 today and could strengthen further, is aiming toward North and South Carolina and is expected to stall, potentially causing massive flooding. Read more HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Future of food safety: By mid-summer, 2018 had already been a busy year on the food-safety front. Hit with a long list of recalls and high-profile outbreaks from a variety of sources—romaine lettuce, precut melon and veggie trays, fresh eggs, a cereal brand and McDonald’s salads among them—industry and consumers alike were reminded that victory remains elusive in the battle against foodborne illness. READ MORE
Open-source farming? In 2015, Caleb Harper, an MIT Media Lab research scientist, wowed the audience at a TED Conference in Geneva with his vision for personal food computers: automated, indoor hydroponic gardens capable of downloading and replicating the conditions needed to create perfect parsley, excellent escarole, and beautiful broccoli.
Vegans dissatisfied with food choices: Some 90 percent of U.S. vegetarians are considering veganism, even though half of U.S. vegans are dissatisfied with their food choices. With less structured diets trending among young consumers, food brands need to innovate and expand their offerings, according to a study from Ingredient Communications. READ MORE
Integrating chickens into vegetable crop rotations: Researchers are exploring how the integration of chickens into vegetable crop rotations may spark environmental and economic benefits for growers. The research, which is being carried out at Iowa State University, is looking at whether such practices can balance a range of concerns, including environmental sustainability, costs and food and animal safety. READ MORE
Wendy’s customers struggling: CNBC reports that despite a booming economy and low unemployment, Wendy’s customers are still struggling to spend. The company reports that nearly 40 percent of its consumers earn $45,000 and under in income, and they’re not experiencing wage growth to extent as the rest of the consumer base. READ MORE
Swine fever update: Officials in Japan say that pigs on a farm in Gifu Prefecture have tested positive for Classical Swine Fever (CSF), the first case to be discovered in that country in 26 years, according to a report by the Swine Health Information Center. The report comes as Japan’s neighbor, China, struggles to contain a widespread outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF). READ MORE
ANIMAL FEED SAFETY
Another pet food recall: Steve’s Real Food is recalling dog food and cat food because of possible contamination with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes. The company distributed the pet foods nationwide. READ MORE
Trouble in Argentina: Argentines are struggling in crisis in what was once one of the world’s most prosperous nations. Consumer prices are soaring, unemployment is high and the Argentine peso has plunged, bringing back haunting memories of the country’s economic meltdown in 2001 that pushed millions into poverty. READ MORE
Oops! Burgerville employees are going to have to express themselves with a little less flair now that the restaurant chain has revised its button policy after several employees came to work wearing political pins, offending some customers. Originally, the small Pacific Northwest burger chain did not have a written policy in place, which led to workers wearing “controversial” pins like “Abolish ICE” and “No one is illegal” while on shift. READ MORE
Cops suspect second Novichok bottle: A second dose of Novichok concealed in a perfume bottle is feared to lay undiscovered somewhere around Salisbury, England, after being dumped by two Russian assassins who targeted Russian double agent Sergei Scribal. British cops say they cannot be sure the counterfeit bottle of Nina Ricci perfume found by Charlie Rowley in Salisbury city centre was the same one used in the Scribal assassination attempt. READ MORE