Tox Tuesday: A third of cocaine users say they can get drugs faster than a pizza delivery

As illegal drug usage goes up in many parts of the world, concerns like reliability, discretion and customer service are increasingly important to those who buy and sell these drugs.

In fact, nearly a third of cocaine users surveyed across the world indicated that they could get the drug delivered to them in less than a half hour, according to the 2018 Global Drug Survey. For comparison, only 17% believed they could get a pizza delivered in that time.

A big part of this is the dark net, a section of the internet accessible only with special software that is commonly used for illegal activities — particularly the buying and selling of illegal goods. Consumers can order drugs directly to themselves, or dealers can order their supply to dole out to the public. Transactions often take place using cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, which can be used relatively anonymously.

According to the 2018 Global Drug Survey, about 20% of respondents have ordered drugs via the dark net within the past year. In Finland, the number was 45%; England was 25%; and the U.S. in third place with about 18%. Past surveys have shown that over the years, the online market for drugs is growing, and many health agencies agree. [ More … ]

Fast facts: State of U.S. cattle ranching

A new report commissioned by The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) compiles data based on interviews with nearly 700 cattle ranchers across the U.S., providing the latest information on the demographics of the beef industry.

“By looking so broadly at how American cattlemen and women run their businesses, we are able to assess not only basic demographics, but management practices and values to help consumers better understand the role farmers and ranchers play in their communities as both beef producers and neighbors,” said Kendal Frazier, NCBA CEO.

Below is some of the information gathered.

How many farms: More than 700,000 cattle farms, ranches and feedyards exist in the U.S. Livestock grazing takes up 614 million acres, or 27% of U.S. land.

All in the family: About 80% of farms are family-operated, with less than 1,000 heads of cattle, and 90% are family-owned; 58% of which have been in the same family for at least three generations.

Average age: The average age of a U.S. cattle producer is 58. [ More … ]

Important mission: Science sets out to determine age of peak puppy cuteness

How would you like to be a researcher investigating the “optimal age” of puppy cuteness?

A group of lucky researchers got to embark on that task to publish a recent study that gauged the exact age at which dogs are most appealing to humans. The answer? According to the study, puppies are at their cutest at around six to eight weeks of age.

There may be some significance to that. Puppies are weaned from their mothers at that age, so it’s possible that there’s a correlation between puppies’ appeal to humans and puppies’ need for human care and assistance.

Study leader Clive Wynne of Arizona State University first hypothesized the connection on a trip to the Bahamas. There, he encountered a lot of street dogs, prompting him to wonder if there was a tie between pup vulnerability at weaning and their attractiveness to humans. He prepared to test his ideas in the field. The results came out exactly as he expected.

“This could be a signal coming through to us of how dogs have evolved to rely on human care,” he said. “This could be dogs showing us how the bond between human and dog is not just something that we find immensely satisfying in our lives… But for them, it’s the absolute bedrock of their existence. That being able to connect with us, to find an emotional hook with us, is what actually makes their lives possible.” [ More … ]

Risk-Based Vaccine: Botulism — American Association of Equine Practitioners

The American Association of Equine Practitioners created this fantastic resource on Clostridium botulinum Type B, which causes equine botulism, and the vaccine against it.

Neogen offers the vaccine BotVax B, which inoculates against botulism in three doses, each one month apart. BotVax B is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved Clostridium botulinum type B toxoid licensed for preventing equine botulism in healthy horses. [ More … ]

Beef, barbecue and burgers: Cooking safely

May is a big month: It’s Hamburger Month, Beef Month and Barbecue Month (and not to mention Chocolate Custard Month, Salsa Month and Egg Month).

With so many foods to celebrate this month, especially burgers and barbecue, we figure it’s a good time to recap some grilling safety facts: [ More … ]

5 more questions about Listeria Right Now™

Previously we’ve covered the questions we get about the technology behind Listeria Right Now™, our one-hour-long environmental Listeria test that features molecular-level accuracy with no need for enrichment.

In the time since, we’ve talked to more of our customers, and heard more about how they use Listeria Right Now and what kinds of things they wonder about the test system. Here are some more questions, and more importantly, some more answers.

Can I use this test on Zone 1 product surfaces during operational runs for USDA-regulated products?

Listeria Right Now is designed for post-cleaning, pre-production environmental use. This includes all zones. It hasn’t been validated against product matrices at this time, though we’re working on a few currently.

How exactly are you able to detect 4 CFU per swab without enrichment?

Listeria Right Now targets ribosomal RNA (rRNA). This creates a significant advantage — there are typically 1,000 to 10,000 copies of rRNA, compared to only one copy of DNA, which traditional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems target. Hence, with rRNA as a target, there can be a 1,000- to 10,000-fold increase in target analyte concentration. [ More … ]

Can your alcoholic beverage kill germs in your body?

Maybe you’ve been in a situation like this before.

At a party, your friend chomps down on some cheese dip and crackers that have been sitting out for far too long. “It’ll be fine,” he says. “I’ll just have another beer; the alcohol will kill the bacteria.”

Or your sister with a bad cold offers you a sip of her martini. “Don’t worry, you won’t get germs because of the alcohol!”

Alcohol is a disinfectant, right? So can a few drinks kill the germs in our bodies?

The answer, like most things, is complicated. The alcohol content of your germ-destroying hand sanitizer is about 60–80%, and most beverages are far less than that. One study examined how alcohol affected bacteria in the mouth and found that a beverage with 40% alcohol (like straight vodka) was somewhat effective in inhibiting bacteria growth, particularly over at least a 15 minute period. Alcohol with a 10% concentration, like in some beers and wines, was pretty much ineffective. [ More … ]

Neogen launches LarvaGuard Mosquito Larvacide Granules

Neogen has launched a safe and easy solution to keep humans and animals out of harm’s way from the threats posed by mosquitoes.

Prozap® LarvaGuard Mosquito Larvicide Granules can help banish mosquitoes from homes, gardens and farms when applied to standing water, where mosquitoes breed. Each application of LarvaGuard provides 30 days of mosquito larva control, and treated areas are safe for livestock, pets and humans. The use of the active ingredient, methoprene, an insect growth regulator (IGR), eliminates future mosquito populations by stopping the growth cycle at the larval stage.

“Mosquitoes are perhaps best known for being an extremely annoying summertime nuisance, but they can pose serious health threats to both humans and animals,” said Neogen’s Katherine Goodpaster. “Some species can transmit diseases to humans and animals, such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, dengue, eastern equine encephalitis, heart worm disease, and many others.” [ More … ]

Neogen launches Prozap® Fly-Die Ultra™ equine spray

Neogen has added to its line of effective Prozap® equine fly protection products with Fly-Die Ultra™ — a hard-hitting, long-lasting, sweat-proof formula.

Prozap Fly-Die Ultra protects horses from stable flies, horn flies, house flies, horse flies, deer flies, face flies, gnats, ticks, lice and mosquitoes, including those that may transmit the West Nile virus. This sweat- and water-resistant formula binds to the hair shaft providing up to 14 days of protection — even after heavy workouts and rain.

“In the pasture, on the trail, or in the show pen, Prozap Fly-Die Ultra protects your horse rain or shine,” said Neogen’s Katherine Goodpaster. “But, the Fly-Die Ultra formula really distinguishes itself when horses get wet, and other products wash off. The new product’s sweat- and water-resistant formula provides protection during heavy workouts, even in hot, humid weather.” [ More … ]

Food allergy facts for Food Allergy Awareness Week

Do you know anyone with a serious food allergy? Maybe you have one, yourself? An estimated 150 million people worldwide, mostly children, deal with at least one food allergy.

May 13 through 19 marks 2018’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, a time for education and discussion about food allergies and how they affect people’s lives.

What’s an allergic reaction?

When a person who is allergic to a food item ingests the food they’re allergic to, their immune system mistakes the allergenic protein for something harmful. A reaction occurs when the body releases chemicals, such as histamine, which causes either mild symptoms such as swelling, hives or a rash, or severe symptoms such as respiratory difficulty or anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylactic shock includes symptoms of an allergic reaction plus a shock reaction — a drop in blood pressure and sometimes cardiac arrhythmia. If not promptly treated, it can be life-threatening. [ More … ]