Smithfield is reassessing disaster preparedness: The biggest U.S. pork producer is reassessing its disaster preparedness following Hurricane Florence. The pork industry could relocate additional hog farms on floodplains after this month’s hurricane swamped dozens of manure-storing “lagoons,” Smithfield Foods chief executive Ken Sullivan said at The Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum on Thursday. READ MORE


What you need to know about monkeypox: Three cases of monkeypox were reported in the UK in September, but authorities say there is no reason to panic. Any disease that circulates in animals and can be passed to people has potential for causing a new pandemic if it mutates to become more deadly or more easily transmissible, but monkeypox at this point is not easily transmissible. The disease has no specific treatment and no specific vaccine licensed for use, but the smallpox vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox. READ MORE

Meanwhile, seasonal plague cases in Madagascar: Madagascar health officials reported in an update Wednesday that the country’s plague case count has now risen to 22 cases in 10 districts from Aug. 1 to Sept. 24, 2018, with five deaths. Plague is known to be endemic Madagascar and a seasonal upsurge (predominantly the bubonic form) usually occurs early every year between September and April. READ MORE

Floods bring plague of mosquitos: Water is still standing in large swathes across the state of North Carolina, creating a plague of mosquitoes the governor has vowed to take action against. Gov. Roy Cooper last week ordered $4 million to be spent on mosquito control in counties “under a major disaster declaration.” READ MORE

And cause termite worries, too: As cleanup crews do their work after Hurricane flooding, there is a little-talked-about danger in the aftermath of severe storms like this one — Formosan termites. This invasive species is a plague on homes and structures across the Southeast, where decades-long efforts to exterminate and contain them can be undone when the bugs hitch a ride with cleanup crews hauling away storm debris. READ MORE


Poultry line ‘speed waivers’ a possibility: To get a “speed waiver” to run an “evisceration line” at up to 175 birds per minute, rather than the current 140 bpm, is going to require poultry businesses to jump through a few more hoops at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The speed limit has long been controversial for reasons that are not always clear to outsiders. Worker safety advocates associate the line speed with on-the-job injuries. READ MORE


More vND cases, not a food safety concern: The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed three additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease in California. A contagious and fatal viral disease, vND affects the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs, but vND is not a food safety concern and has never been transmitted to humans who eat poultry products. Read more HERE and HERE.


New trilateral trade agreement signed: After more than a year of negotiating a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have finally inked a trade deal. The new deal, signed Sunday evening, will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). READ MORE


Trump administration admits planet is warming: Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century. A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. READ MORE


McDonald’s employee charged with putting cleaner in cop’s drink: A southeastern Kansas McDonald’s worker has been charged withaggravated battery of a law enforcement officer for allegedly putting cleaner in a deputy’s drink. A 22-year-old man was charged for putting a peroxide-based cleaner usually used to clean the restaurant’s counters in an Allen County deputy’s drink on Sept. 12. A short time later, the deputy experienced flu-like symptoms. A co-worker later came forward and said the man added “four little squirts” of the cleaner to the cop’s beverage. READ MORE

Restaurant hires security after Cruz protest: An upscale Italian restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C., has hired security guards after protesters confronted Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife, Heidi, as they prepared to dine there. “We are trying to run a restaurant that was besieged this week with the sort of vitriol that is the story of divided politics in America now,” the owners of Fiola said in an email to customers. READ MORE

Liquor stores associated with more violent crimes than bars: A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) found that alcohol outlets in Baltimore that sell alcohol for off-premise consumption (such as liquor stores and beer and wine stores) have a stronger association with incidences of violent crimes, including homicides, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults, and robbery, than alcohol outlets in Baltimore where alcohol is bought and consumed on-site, such as bars and restaurants. READ MORE


Indonesia’s death toll continues to rise: Volunteers have begun burying victims of Indonesia’s deadly earthquake and tsunami in a mass grave. Friday’s disaster devastated swathes of the eastern Sulawesi island and has left at least 844 people dead. Some remote areas have yet to be contacted, and there are fears that the death toll could rise further. Read more HERE, HERE and HERE


Authorities seek tips on car bombing: Autopsies are planned Monday on the bodies of three people found dead after a car explosion on a downtown street in Allentown, Pa., in what authorities called a “criminal incident” being probed by federal, state and local authorities. Three males were found dead after the 9:30 p.m. Saturday blast, said Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim. Anyone with information is asked to call the ATF. READ MORE