Smithfield expanding pilot program: The world’s largest pork company said it’s going whole-hog on converting powerful pig poop gases into power. Smithfield Foods said it is expanding a pilot program that traps methane and burns the gas to generate electricity to farms across North Carolina, Utah and Missouri. Smithfield said its company-owned and contract farms over the next decade will cover waste-treatment pits to capture the gas and keep out rainwater. Read more HERE and HERE.

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Could climate change swell Central American migrations? Deepening climate change will swell Central American migration to the United States, the region’s environment ministers and experts warned last week as a caravan of mostly Honduran migrants trekked towards the U.S. border in defiance of President Donald Trump. READ MORE

RESTAURANT SECURITY

McDonald’s customer shoots masked gunman: A McDonald’s customer is being called a hero after he shot and killed a masked gunman who opened fire inside one of the fast-food chain’s restaurants in Birmingham. A man wearing a mask barged into the restaurant and began shooting as the manager was locking the doors Saturday night. A customer leaving with his two sons then drew his own gun and shot the masked man, who later died at a local hospital. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Bad meat: Spanish authorities have dismantled an organization that distributed more than a thousands pounds of meat in poor condition. Those charged worked for companies that were part of a network of companies that marketed foods in poor condition and used trademarks of other firms. The group is also alleged to have modified expiration dates to resell products through other companies. READ MORE

Death by food allergy: Two men in the UK have been found guilty of manslaughter after a teenage girl died following an allergic reaction to a takeaway meal. After eating takeaway food containing peanuts from the Royal Spice Indian in Hyndburn, Lancashire, on Dec. 30, 2016, Megan Lee began experiencing an allergic reaction and died from asthma because of a nut allergy. READ MORE

Recall over thallium: Suzanna’s Kitchen of Peachtree Corners, Ga., is recalling more than 15,000 pounds of grilled chicken products after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services tested retail packages of the company’s Nature Raised Farms Organic Gluten Free Grilled Chicken Strips and found thallium. FSIS is working with the company to discover the source of contamination. READ MORE

Consumer groups sue FDA over traceability: Two consumer groups are suing the FDA in an effort to push forward traceability provisions required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Center for Environmental Health (CEH) are asking the FDA to establish and publish a list of high-risk foods and further enforce additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold the foods on that list. READ MORE

Buffer zone will increase between CAFOs, growing fields: The leafy green growing season around Yuma, Ariz., is about to get underway, and there will be one difference from last year. This year, the buffer zone between concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs, will be tripled, from 400 feet last growing season to 1,200 feet this year. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

The role of USDA in researching food security, insecurity: Across the globe, at least some time during the year, nearly 800 million people do. Not having access to stable and nutritious food sources – or food insecurity — negatively impacts people’s lives. USDA research agencies study food security and insecurity so we recognize challenges and develop effective and innovative ways to fight against them. READ MORE

Hurricane damage estimates continue to climb: Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc on South Georgia agriculture, and damage estimates continue to climb—$4 billion at the latest tally. How big a hit does that $4 billion represent? Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry, contributing more than $70 billion annually to the state economy. WATCH

Still not enough truck drivers: For the second year in a row, a long-standing driver shortage has been ranked as the top issue by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). The need to recruit qualified truck drivers is a recurring issue for the industry. In 12 out of the 14 years the ATRI has conducted the survey, the driver shortage has been a top-three issue. READ MORE

Make way for the groundcherry: Two scientists are using gene editing techniques to tweak the groundcherry, a fruit loaded with vitamins C and B, beta-carotene, and antioxidants, and with proven anti-inflammatory properties. They are working to improve the flowering and fruit size of this “orphan crop,” and make the plant grow in a more compact, less “weedy” fashion. READ MORE

FOOD FRAUD

Top fraudulent label claims include ‘organic’: Some of the most fraudulent label claims include organic, free range, wild caught and halal. Preventing these types of food fraud require strong supply chain management and trustworthy supplier relationships along with effective auditing programs. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Meet AFM victims: A rare but potentially paralyzing illness called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, has parents on alert. The CDC says AFM has spread to 24 states with 72 confirmed cases, including 10 new ones. Camdyn Carr, 4, is just one child impacted by the illness. On Aug. 30, he had a sinus infection. Within 72 hours, he was paralyzed. READ MORE

Increase in typhus blamed on increase in homelessness: The number of flea-born typhus cases in Los Angeles has hit 107. So far this year, 72 patients have been recorded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with a further 15 in Long Beach and 20 in Pasadena. In the 2000s, there were some 20 cases recorded per year, and analysts are blaming the dramatic increase on a 47 per cent increase in homelessness since 2012. READ MORE

FDA revamping definition of healthy: Pizza bagels, chewing gum and bottled water want to play a starring new role in our diets: Foods that can be called healthy. The FDA is revamping its definition of healthy to reflect our changing understanding of nutrition science. The push is fueling debate about eating habits and what the new standard should say. READ MORE

JUST INTERESTING

Does chemophobia hurt public health? When is a chemical dangerous? This is not a question we consciously ask ourselves much, but in fact, we interrogate the world and our safety unconsciously dozens of time each day about it. Is our child’s plastic sippy cup made with dangerous chemicals? Does the cleaner we are using on our car give off dangerous fumes? What about the spray to kill dandelions? READ MORE