Closeup photo of freshly picked berries. On the photo there are a mix of berries: blueberry, wild strawberry and raspberry. Red, blue and purple colors. Sweden.

Stop came at the Canadian border: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently intercepted 280 pounds of cocaine in a shipment of berries crossing into Canada at Port Huron, Mich. CPB officers selected the commercial truck shipment for an enforcement exam, and during the inspection and interview of the driver, officers found plastic wrapped packages in some of the berry boxes. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Honey Smacks are back: The Kellogg’s Honey Smacks brand is returning to shelves after a voluntary recall. The recall occurred after Salmonella infected 100 people in 33 states. The company has announced a “simpler, updated recipe” and says that production has been moved to a different facility. READ MORE

Meat outbreak grows: Since the Oct. 4 recall by JBS in Tolleson,  Ariz., of almost seven million pounds of raw, non-intact beef for possible Salmonella Newport contamination, the outbreak has more than doubled in size, according to the CDC. As of Oct. 23, the number of people with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport has grown to 120, up from 57 at the time of the recall. READ MORE

Don’t eat that fish! Nearly 90 tons of illicit Bluefin tuna has been seized in Spain as  part of Operation Trantelo, coordinated by Europe and run by the Spanish Guardia Civil with the support of French, Italian, Maltese and Portuguese authorities. A total of 79 people were arrested, and several cases of food poisoning reported because of fish being stored in unsanitary conditions. The degradation of proteins caused by unhygienic storage conditions caused scombroid food poisoning, a result of fish having too much histamine. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

African swine fever spreads: African swine fever (ASF) has spread for the first time to Yunnan in the south, China’s major pork-consuming region, according to Reuters. China has reported more than 40 outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in 11 provinces and municipalities, culling an estimated 200,000 pigs. All outbreaks had been in the north and eastern provinces until now. READ MORE

And the U.S. is taking precautions, including sniffer dogs: When Hardy, a USDA-trained detector dog, sniffed out a roasted pig head in luggage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport, the nation paid attention. USDA says this is just one of several biosecurity efforts that are being undertaken to keep African swine fever from entering the country. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Pork trade stays positive: While the U.S. is smack in the middle of a trade war with China, other areas of trade are looking positive for pork. The U.S. has successfully forged a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada and is about to begin talks with Japan after recently signing an agreement with South. Korea. In addition, the Trump administration has begun negotiations with the European Union and United Kingdom. READ MORE

SUSTAINABILITY

Who should regulate cell-cultured meat? During the past six months there has been intense discussion about the appropriate agency to regulate cell-cultured protein. First,  the FDA claimed responsibility. Then animal production organizations and from some producers objected. Now, it looks like FDA and USDA-FSIS will share jurisdiction. That’s totally impractical, this writer argues. READ MORE

And what about fish? Lab-grown seafood is a big part of the movement toward growing cultured cells to create foods like hamburger. Startups like Finless Foods, BlueNalu, and Wild Type have secured funding to develop products including lab-grown tuna and salmon. Failing to meaningfully address seafood in the current FDA and USDA talks could cause the average consumer to face inconsistent or confusing labels across lab-grown seafood and other cell-cultured meats. READ MORE

Kroger says plant-based foods are a trend to watch: Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain, tapped into the expertise of its new product development team, chefs and food innovators to create a list of the top five trends that U.S. consumers can expect to see in 2019. Those trends include increased interest in plant-based foods as well as regional flavors. READ MORE

The biggest oil leak you never heard of: A 14-year chronic oil leak threatening the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico could surpass BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill as the largest offshore disaster in U.S. history, the Washington Post reports. The spill stems from a Taylor Energy-owned production platform off the coast of Louisiana that was toppled during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Between 12,600 to 29,400 gallons of oil per day spews from multiple wells, according to a recent study. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Drugs blamed for hiring problems: New York City employers are squarely blaming a raging drug epidemic for much of the trouble they have filling jobs in one of the tightest labor markets in a generation. More local prospective workers are testing positive for substance abuse, or showing up stoned for work, according to industry analysts. READ MORE

WEIRD STUFF

Here lies E. coli: In any place where we bury bodies, the soil will be different from the surrounding land, and those underground signatures can last for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Cemetery soils can carry higher concentrations of nutrients than the surrounding areas. Far more alarming are the microbes that soil can contain. READ MORE