How to get your dog on a journal review board

A lot of people think their pets are pretty darn smart. But are they as smart as Dr. Olivia Doll, former researcher at the Shenton Park Institute for Canine Refuge Studies, and holder of a degree in canine abdominal massage from Subiaco College of Veterinary Science?

Dr. Doll, who is an expert in the role of “domestic canines promoting optimal mental health in aging males,” is actually Ollie, a Staffordshire terrier from Australia. Her resume may seem impressive, but it is fictitious.

Her owner, Mike Daube, a public health expert at Australia’s Curtin University, created fake credentials for his furry friend and used them to apply for review boards of multiple medical journals. As a result, little Ollie became an official peer reviewer for 7 international publications, reports Perth Now. [ More … ]

Tox Tuesday: FDA asks drug maker to pull powerful opioid painkiller

For the first time ever, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked a pharmaceutical company to take one of its products off the market.

Endo Pharmaceuticals produces Opana ER, a highly potent opioid painkiller intended for patients who require “daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment…for which alternative treatment options are inadequate.”

The drug, like other prescription painkillers, is often abused, thanks to the extremely addictive nature of opioids. The FDA makes its request in the midst of an epidemic of opioid addiction in the U.S., a problem increasingly present in other parts of the world as well.

“We are facing an opioid epidemic — a public health crisis — and we must take all necessary steps to reduce the scope of opioid misuse and abuse,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. “We will continue to take regulatory steps when we see situations where an opioid product’s risks outweigh its benefits, not only for its intended patient population but also in regard to its potential for misuse and abuse.” [ 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.

Food Safety

Enhancing safety of dairy foods — Morning AgClips
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) helped secure several positive developments for dairy farmers and their cooperatives at the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) this week, as multiple NMPF-led initiatives won approval from the NCIMS delegates during their biennial meeting.

The Future of Food Traceability — Food Safety Magazine
What’s on the horizon for food traceability? Food Safety Magazine examines potential upcoming changes that will affect the food industry, including the behavior of consumers, the changing food supply itself and technological developments in the field. [ More … ]

Beat the heat: Avoiding heat stress in livestock

Like it or not, in most of the northern hemisphere, temperatures are slowly creeping up as summertime makes its grand entrance. During this season, hot and humid weather can be dangerous for both humans and animals, especially livestock, who don’t usually have the luxury of stepping into a refreshing, air conditioned building.

What is heat stress?

Heat stress happens when the body is overheated. It’s not just high temperatures that can cause it — high humidity also plays a role.

In humans, heat stress can cause heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps and rashes. In livestock, it can cause negative health effects and also lead to a decrease in productivity — or in the worst cases, death. [ More … ]

Salmonella outbreak highlights backyard chicken concerns

Chickens aren’t just for the farm anymore. More and more city and suburban residents are building coops and raising flocks in their own backyards. But as poultry and humans increasingly share their living spaces, health problems can arise.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report stating that multiple ongoing outbreaks of Salmonella can be attributed to backyard chicken flocks. Out of 372 cases of human infection, 71 people have been hospitalized.

Salmonella tends to be associated with poultry meat and eggs as a foodborne illness. So why did the CDC attribute the outbreaks to live backyard poultry? After interviews with infected individuals, the CDC found that 83% of interviewees had recent contact with live poultry. Many of these individuals reported purchasing chicks and ducklings from various sources such as hatcheries, feed stores and relatives. [ More … ]

Germany faces largest E. coli outbreak since 2011

Since December, Germany has been up against its largest E. coli O157 outbreak in years. At least 30 people have become sick, resulting in the loss of one life.

The culprit? It’s believed to be ground or minced meat being sold at multiple stores within the country.

“Based on the investigations to date, we suspect packaged meat — beef and pork mixed — sold at one or several supermarket chains, as the most likely source,” investigators said.

Isolates from 14 cases, and a suspected 15th, have been shown to have a close relationship to the Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli O157 through molecular typing.

Thirteen of the cases, including the patient who died, involved hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition caused when the abnormal destruction of red blood cells clogs the kidneys. HUS appears most prevalently in children, though it can affect anybody exposed to dangerous strains E. coli. [ More … ]

Tox Tuesday: Pure cocaine on the rise in the United Kingdom

We’ve written previously about how drugs involved in the opioid epidemic, such as carfentanil and the deadly mixture known as “gray death,” are getting stronger. But opioids are not the only drugs on the street that are becoming more potent.

In the United Kingdom, authorities are warning that cocaine is being sold at increasingly high concentrations. Police in Sussex even confiscated amounts that were 100% pure cocaine. Two deaths in the area have been attributed to the extra strong cocaine taken with heroin.

The Independent reports that normally, cocaine sold in the country is cut with a bulking substance, like glucose or benzocaine, an anesthetic that dentists use. In 2015, Vice magazine found that cocaine sold in London was only 25% to 40% pure. But those numbers seem to be changing. [ 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.

Food Safety

Study: Fatty Acids Can Kill Listeria — Food Safety Magazine
Research conducted at the University of Southern Denmark shows that fatty acids might neutralize the harmful effects of Listeria. The study intended to find ways to reduce the presence of dangerous bacteria in food.

Food Safety Shopping Tips — Consumer Reports
Many of us just want to get into and out of the supermarket quickly. But in our rush, some of us handle the food we buy in a way that poses safety risks, like spoilage and cross-contamination. To stay truly safe, you may need to risk looking slightly germophobic in public, but it’s well worth it. [ More … ]

Neogen launches sesame food allergen test kit

LANSING, Mich., June 5, 2017 — Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG) has expanded its comprehensive line of food allergen test kits to include a test for sesame that can be used to screen samples at a set level, or provide precise quantitative results.

Neogen’s new Veratox® for Sesame Allergen test provides results in just 30 minutes after extraction. The new test can screen samples or provide results in the range of 2.5 to 25 parts per million (ppm), and has been validated for use in testing food products (e.g., spices and bakery products) and clean-in-place rinses.

The new test adds to Neogen’s extensive line of rapid test kits for 19 different food allergens, including peanut, milk, egg, almond, gliadin (gluten), soy, mustard and hazelnut. Neogen is a recognized leader in the development and marketing of diagnostic tests to detect the inadvertent contamination of food with allergens that are not listed on the ingredient label. [ More … ]

‘Grazing the crop like stock’ — Australia’s mouse plague

The state of Victoria, Australia, is dealing with some pesky invaders right now.

Emerging crops, such as canola, are being decimated by mouse infestations, with numbers in some areas reaching plague proportions and forcing farmers to resow areas of crop. What’s more — there is a shortage of mouse bait to deal with the problem.

“I’ve been talking to farmers in the Wimmera who are saying it is the worst mice [infestation] they have seen — even worse than the most recent plague in 2011,” Ross Johns, president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, told The Weekly Times. [ More … ]