Tox Tuesday: As 142 Americans die daily of overdoses, White House commission outlines solutions

The White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recently published its interim report, in which the commission outlined its recommendations to U.S. President Donald Trump regarding actions to halt the country’s ongoing opioid crisis.

“Our nation is in a crisis,” said the open letter to the president. It cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on data suggesting that 142 Americans die every day from a drug overdose, meaning that America endures a death toll equal to the September 11 attacks every three weeks.

“Our citizens are dying,” the commission said. “We must act boldly to stop it.”

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 560,000 people in the U.S. died due to drug overdoses, especially opioid overdoses, which have quadrupled in the past 17 years. The commissioners in part blame the high number of opioid prescriptions administered within the nation — higher than in any other country in the world, having also quadrupled in recent 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:

Disinfectant inactivates PEDv in cold weather — Pig Progress
A team of researchers has reported that different dilutions of disinfectant were effective at inactivating porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in cold temperatures.

Fungus outbreak lethal for NZ dairy cows — All About Feed
Over 100 dairy cows in New Zealand had to be put down recently, as they had digested a fungus from their feed supply. The cows were suffering from ergot toxicity following a dry summer and wet autumn, ideal conditions for the fungus to spread. [ More … ]

Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report: August 7, 2017

Have you missed Tony’s Tech Tips from our Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Reports? Never fear — Tony returns this week with insight on mycotoxin advisory limits and regulatory limits. Click here to watch.

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.

Camping food safety: Mexican food-style

Camping as a vacation option is growing in popularity, especially in the U.S. Nearly one million people took up camping for the first time in 2016, according to a survey sponsored by Kampgrounds of America.

Many of these campers indulged in the usual camping fare: hot dogs, sausages, grilled veggies and kabobs, among other things. But for those looking for more colorful options, Maria Machuca of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has these Latin-inspired suggestions in her article, “Safe Campfire Cooking: Carne Asada, Quesadillas and Salsa.”

Carne asada is thin grilled steak, seasoned and slightly seared. Machuca reminds campers that steak needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°F, and then allowed to sit for three minutes to make sure harmful bacteria have been killed.

Quesadillas are lightly grilled tortillas filled with cheese and other ingredients, either with or without meat. Because of the diverse ingredients involved, Machuca notes this important rule: “keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.” Cheese should be kept in the cooler until being added to the quesadilla, and any meat to be included should be kept on the grill until needed. [ More … ]

Undeclared allergens in a global ingredient supply chain

These days, simply eating a meal is like taking a journey around the world, whether you realize it or not. Thanks to increasingly interlocked global trade, there might be ingredients in your food from another hemisphere.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, between 10% and 15% of all food consumed in the U.S. is imported — including 80% of seafood in the country. Spices are also among the most imported food items.

While this increased globalization benefits both the food industry and consumers, it also creates a challenge for food producers trying to keep detailed tabs on their food ingredient supply chain. Imported ingredients can be tricky to manage, as they go through a long itinerary before reaching their food product destination. Some food products have up to 16 links on their supply chain.

“Businesses are losing a lot of control and visibility into their quality systems,” Kelly Kuchinski of Sparta Systems said of globalization in an article. “Most can do one step forward or one back, but after that they lose sight of it.” [ More … ]

Infographic: Food safety is top concern for chicken consumers

A recent survey shows that among 1,013 American consumers of chicken, food safety is the top concern when thinking about purchases.

Other top priorities were animal disease, hormone and steroid use (which is not allowed in the U.S. poultry industry), and antibiotic use.

The survey was conducted by ORC International and WATT Global Media, on behalf of the National Chicken Council.

Under 50% of those polled noted that misleading packaging claims, how chickens are bred, chicken housing, how chickens are raised, and chicken cut portion sizes were “extremely” or “very” concerning. Only 26% said that the time it takes to raise a chicken mattered to them.

The survey also asked how well consumers felt they understood about the care of chickens. Only 13% reported themselves as “very knowledgeable,” while 47% said they were “somewhat knowledgeable,” and 40% admitted they were “not at all knowledgeable” about the care and keeping of chickens. [ More … ]

Tox Tuesday: Mexican resort death attributed to tainted alcohol

Tragedy struck earlier this year when a 20-year-old woman from the U.S. state of Wisconsin died after she and her brother were found unconscious in a pool at a resort in Mexico.

The siblings and their family had arrived at the resort just two hours before. They began their vacation with a few drinks, but according to family, not nearly enough to lead to a blackout. The young man involved recovered, but his sister was declared brain dead a few days later due to accidental drowning.

After the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the death, the newspaper was contacted by over three dozen others who described similar experiences: blacking out after just one or two drinks at Mexican resorts and waking up hours later with no recollection of what had happened. Some reported that assault or theft had happened to them while blacked out. Many are blaming adulterated alcohol for the incidents. [ More … ]

Monday links

Image courtesy the University of Southern Denmark

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:

Getting fly control right on poultry farms — Poultry World
Most people welcome the onset of summer, but for poultry producers it brings the threat of a fly population explosion. No matter how careful you are, flies will migrate and find their way into the sheds, and once they start breeding they can very quickly become a problem.

What Cowboys Can Teach Us About Feeding the World — gatesnotes
Tech leader and philanthropist Bill Gates reflects on what he was taught on a recent trip about how cattle genomics can be used to raise cows that produce more efficiently, thereby helping to feed currently impoverished communities. [ More … ]

Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report: July 31, 2017

This week’s Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report covers the increase in damaging weather conditions in much of the U.S.
Who is our guest presenter this week? Dr. Max Hawkins of Alltech returns to discuss the 2017 corn crop, answering the question, “What Have We Seen So Far?” Click here to watch.

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.

64 million bushels of wheat could be lost to drought in U.S.

Bad news for farmers this week in the central and northern regions of the U.S. An ongoing drought in the northern plains is expected to persist into August, while heavy, flood-inducing rains in the central U.S. are expected to continue as well.

Much of the northern plains regions are experiencing severe, extreme or exceptional drought levels according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s U.S. Drought Monitor. Numerous counties in three states have been declared disaster areas.

Accuweather notes that farmers in the affected areas have tough decisions to make: till the wheat and take the insurance loss, or try to salvage what can be saved of their crop. Federal officials fear that the drought could cost as many as 64 million bushels of wheat this year. [ More … ]