Nearly 300 pigs culled at county fair after swine flu discovery

A county fair in the U.S. state of Ohio took an unfortunate turn this month when the discovery of swine flu in at least one animal led to state officials ordering the culling of nearly 300 pigs.

The barn was quarantined and disinfected after a case of the H3N2 strain was identified. The strain can be passed to humans, and is commonly spread at agricultural fairs, but no human cases were reported at the Ohio fair.

Officials said culling the animals was sad, but necessary. Exhibitors — many of them children — have to say goodbye to animals they worked hard to lovingly raise, and the financial costs can be high. But oftentimes those losses are deemed necessary to prevent even bigger losses. Animals that end up contaminated with a virus can return home and expose the rest of their herd.

After the first pig at the Ohio fair began to seem feverish, it only took a few days for several more to follow suit. [ More … ]

Avoid these 5 things: Most common ways food is contaminated in a restaurant

The restaurant industry holds the health of its customers in its hands. Poor food safety practices can harm many diners in a short period of time, so it’s important to be alert for red flags. Seemingly simple mistakes can quickly add up to big costs in food waste and brand reputation damages.

To that end, here are five common food spoilage snafus — and how you can avoid them.

Temperature abuse

Temperature abuse happens when food spends too much time in the temperature “danger zone” of 41°F to 140°F, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Within this range, bacteria can multiply rapidly, so foods shouldn’t be kept in that range for more than two hours at a time. That time goes down to just one hour if the room or outside temperature is above 90°F.

USDA suggests that if hot foods can’t be served right away, they be kept at 140°F or above until they can be served. It’s also important to exercise caution in transporting food. Food shouldn’t be left on a hot loading dock during the unloading process. [ More … ]

Farm animals help prevent asthma and allergies in kids, study finds

In the past, we’ve talked about how household pets can lead to healthier babies. But cats and dogs aren’t the only animals linked to better health in youngsters. New evidence from researchers in Switzerland suggests that interaction with farm animals can help prevent asthma and allergies.

“Early childhood contact with animals, and the consumption of food of animal origin, seems to regulate the inflammatory reactions of the immune system,” said immunologist Remo Frei.

The team also said that drinking farm milk can have benefits, though consuming raw milk has been shown to come with a high risk of making you sick.

With allergy and asthma rates increasing globally, researchers are examining not just why so many kids are developing these inhibiting health issues — they are also looking closely at why some kids aren’t coming down with allergies and asthma. [ More … ]

Whole genome sequencing used to investigate Salmonella outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently released a report on a 2016 Salmonella outbreak, identifying it to the public for the first time.

More than 30 people across nine U.S. states were sickened. Eight of those people were hospitalized, with victims spreading from Texas to Minnesota, between May 6 and July 9.

The outbreak was traced back to fresh hot peppers.

“Investigators could not determine what specific type of hot pepper was causing illness, or which farm was producing the peppers,” a spokesperson told Food Safety News. “Due to the short shelf-life of fresh peppers, the contaminated peppers were most likely no longer being sold or served when investigators suspected peppers as the outbreak source.” [ More … ]

Neogen reports record revenues and earnings

Neogen Corporation announced today that its net income for the fourth quarter of its 2017 fiscal year, which ended May 31, was $12,474,000, or $0.32 per fully diluted share, an increase of 27% from $9,857,000, or $0.26 per share, in fiscal 2016. Net income for the 2017 fiscal year increased 20% to $43,793,000, or $1.14 per share, compared to the prior year’s $36,564,000, or $0.97 per share.

Revenues for the fourth quarter of its 2017 fiscal year were $98,847,000, an increase of 10% compared to $90,080,000 the prior year quarter. Revenues for the entire fiscal 2017 increased 13% to $361,594,000 from the prior year’s $321,275,000. This increase was aided by recent acquisitions completed by the company, and was achieved despite adverse top line currency adjustments of approximately $7.2 million for the full year resulting from strength of the U.S. dollar in Neogen’s international markets. Revenues and net income for the fourth quarter, and the 2017 fiscal year, established new all-time highs for the 35-year-old company.

“We are pleased to report a solid 2017 fiscal year performance and an even stronger position to continue to expand in the future,” said James Herbert, Neogen’s executive chairman. “We believe that our broad portfolio of innovative products and services sets us apart globally. We have a shared vision with the world’s food and animal producers that seek to produce food products that are safe and of high quality.”

The fourth quarter was the 101st of the past 106 quarters that Neogen reported revenue increases as compared with the previous year — including all consecutive quarters in the last 12 years. [ More … ]

Monday links

Don’t have time to scour the internet for the latest animal science, food safety, and agriculture news? Relax, we’ve got it covered.

Animal Science:

Gene editing has potential for future poultry breeding — Poultry World
Genetic modification of animals has been around for decades, but genome editors are a new tool that allow small changes — replacing one amino acid or a short sequence — to be made to the DNA. Work has already been done on a unique featherless chicken and the Scots Dumpy, a rare breed native to Scotland.

Pigs feel neuropathic pain due to tail docking — Pig Progress
Tail docking causes neuropathic pain-like sensations in piglets, according to recent research from the United Kingdom and Denmark. The researchers started to investigate pain induced by tail docking as it is a standing practice in many countries to avoid tail biting in pigs. [ More … ]

Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report: July 17, 2017

This week’s Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report includes a special excerpt from our webinar, “What’s under the tarp?” on emerging mycotoxins and strategies with Dr. Gwendolyn Jones. Click here to watch it!

Neogen Corporation takes great care to ensure the integrity of the data we collect from many sources across the country. As these data can vary widely, they should NOT be considered typical of all grain harvested. The mycotoxin levels we report are intended to assist our industry partners in developing their risk assessment programs. Detecting problems before commingling or processing can help avoid quality issues and financial losses.

To subscribe to get these reports straight to your email inbox, click here.

Neogen names new CEO

Neogen Corporation announced today the company has named John Adent as chief executive officer, effective immediately. James Herbert, the company’s founder and former CEO, will remain as executive chairman and work closely with Adent in the transition of responsibilities.

“I’m excited to have John accept the leadership position at our company. He has a strong background in many of our business activities both domestically and internationally,” said Herbert, Neogen’s executive chairman. “Until recently he served as CEO of Animal Health International, an animal health distributor and a significant Neogen customer.” [ More … ]

Happy National Ice Cream Month!

As far as American holidays go, Independence Day on July 4 is a pretty big deal. But July also hosts another national day that not every American knows about — and one that people all over the world gladly participate in: National Ice Cream Day.

Celebrated on the third Sunday of July, the day is for the consumption of all treats frozen and milky (the jury’s still out on whether popsicles are allowed to join the festivities). In fact, ever since 1984, the entire month of July has been celebrated as National Ice Cream Month.

If you plan to indulge in some ice cream this weekend, perhaps you might consider making your own. Ice cream is fairly easy to make, but it’s important to do so safely. Using raw eggs comes with the risk of Salmonella contamination, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers some tips for avoiding illness. [ More … ]

The heat-resistant ‘cow of the future’

Photo by Raluca Mateescu

Time for some cow math. Angus + Brahman = Brangus.

Angus cattle, originally from Scotland, are one of the most popular breeds for beef in the world. With black or red coloring and natural lack of horns, the breed is used for crossbreeding to introduce positive traits in cows. Angus beef is well-liked by diners; restaurant commercials around the world tout the quality and certification of their Angus beef.

The Brahman is a breed of cattle from the U.S. that was bred from four different Indian breeds. Like its predecessors — other zebu cattle — Brahman have humps on their shoulders and are good at dealing with high temperatures. The breed is very popular for beef, and is widely raised in South America, North America and Australia. [ More … ]