Scientists unearth earliest evidence of ancient equine vet care

Photo by John Stampfl

Being an equine vet is a tough job. It takes years of schooling and experience to get there, and a whole lot of expert knowledge to master the role. Now, new archaeological evidence has shown that although our ancient ancestors had fewer drug and disease names to learn, they still provided their horses with more veterinary care than previously known.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History took a side trek from humans to examine horse remains found in Mongolia. These remains belong to an ancient pastoral culture called the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Culture, which existed between 1300 and 700 B.C.E.

The researchers discovered the oldest evidence of veterinary dental care in the world. The Deer Stone-Khirigsuur people used veterinary dental procedures to remove baby teeth from young horses, likely to alleviate pain and feeding difficulty. [ More … ]

Neogen at IFT 2018

Neogen is setting up shop at the annual conference of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago, Illinois from July 15–18.

Where can you find us at the expo? We’ll be at booth S3761 this year, sharing the latest on our food safety solutions and answering your questions.

On Tuesday, July 17, Neogen’s Jim Topper will hold demonstrations of our groundbreaking, no-enrichment environmental Listeria test, Listeria Right Now™. The test takes only an hour, allowing issues to be fixed before becoming serious problems.

These demos are happening at booth S3761 at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Demo attendees will learn how to find and eliminate Listeria faster and more easily using Listeria Right Now.

Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report: July 9, 2018

We’re getting into the swing of the growing season with our second Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report of the year! This week’s video outlines the hot weather in North America, and touches on two new DON reports in the past week. Check out the video here.

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.

Outbreak alert: Listeria in the United Kingdom, parasites in the United States

Foodborne illness outbreaks — and the resulting food product recalls — have garnered no small amount of attention in the news in recent weeks. Here are two of the bigger ones.

Listeria in frozen vegetables

A major supermarket supplier in the United Kingdom has recalled 43 frozen vegetable products due to the risk of Listeria monocytogenes contamination, based on guidance from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The FSA advises anyone who has purchased the recalled products, which mostly contain sweetcorn, to return the veggies to the store they got them from.

Vegetables contaminated with Listeria usually get the bacteria from soil or the manure used as fertilizer. Contamination can also occur during processing, which is why food processors thoroughly test their facilities for the presence of the pathogen. [ More … ]

Australian Salmonella outbreak attributed to alfalfa sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts have been narrowed down as the source of a Salmonella Havana outbreak in Australia that has sickened more than 20 people.

Of those 20 people, seven in the state of South Australia have been hospitalized. The implicated sprouts have been identified as having come from a farm in Adelaide and have been recalled. Consumers have been advised to return recently purchased sprouts or toss them out.

Infection with Salmonella, commonly known as salmonellosis, involves symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, a fever and/or headache. Symptoms usually last two to seven days, and in most cases, go away on their own. Serious cases require hospitalization. The elderly, the very young, and anyone with a weakened immune system stands a greater risk of having a serious case.

The struggle with sprouts

Sprouts have long been considered tricky to food safety. Why? It often has to do with the way they are grown. [ More … ]

Tox Tuesday: Oral fluid drug testing as a roadside method

Earlier this year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report showing that in 2016, 44% of U.S. drivers who were killed in car crashes (with known drug tests results) had tested positive for drugs. More than half of that 44% had ingested marijuana, opioids or a combination of both.  Meanwhile, crashes involving alcohol usage went down.

The statistics mark a sharp increase in drug-related car crashes. A decade ago, just 28% of drivers killed had tested positive for drugs.

The report is evidence of how the drug scene is rapidly changing around the globe. With marijuana now legal in more parts of the world (most recently, Canada legalized recreational marijuana), and an opioid abuse crisis claiming lives every day, setting standards and regulations for drug testing becomes increasingly more like hitting a moving target.

Oral fluid drug detection is in many ways at the forefront of the discussion. Especially in the context marijuana legalization, oral fluid screening has been put forth as a viable solution for roadside drug testing. U.S. states like California and Colorado, which have both legalized recreational marijuana, have implemented pilot programs for roadside oral fluid testing. California even recently had its first driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) conviction based on oral fluid evidence, which led to the detection of methamphetamine in the blood of a driver in a fatal car crash. [ More … ]

Equine botulism leads to two deaths in Nova Scotia

Equine botulism is the cause behind two deaths at an animal rescue in Nova Scotia, Canada this month, with a third horse having been diagnosed, reports CBC.

Like many cases of equine botulism, the horses affected most likely became ill after eating hay that had been contaminated with the toxin-producing bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria exists in the soil and in decaying animal carcasses. From there, it can sometimes become rolled up in hay bales, where it finds a favorable environment to grow. Inadequately processed haylage and silage also present a risk.

“For all those people out there who thought, like me, if you feed dry hay you’re safe — you’re not,” said the animal shelter’s owner to CBC. [ More … ]

Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report: July 2, 2018

And we’re back, with our weekly Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report video series! We’re excited to kick off the 2018 season. This week, we take a look at the latest growing and weather conditions in North America. Watch the video here.

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.

A unique approach to pest control: Mechanical monsters

Is this the latest in pest control?

A farmer in a rural town in Kyushu, one of the main islands of Japan, has resorted to his own special way to drive pests away from his fields: a robotic “monster wolf” that literally scares them away.

The machine, smaller than a real wolf, has long gray fur, pointed ears and a sinister, Halloween mask-esque face with red LED-light eyes and a terrifying expression. It lives at the edge of a rice paddy owned by farmer Norio Kido in the small town of Soeda, reports The Mainichi.

The wolf works with infrared motion detecting sensors. When it senses movement, the wolf’s eyes light up, and it shakes back and forth. One of 57 different pre-recorded audio sounds will play, including howls and a human voice saying, “Shoot it with a rifle! Shoot!” [ More … ]

Wheat and heat: Using computer models to predict crop growth

It may be winter at the moment in Australia, but researchers there are keeping their sights on all things warm with the focus of their research: how heat waves affect wheat.

Their study mixes real-world observations with computer science, creating models that demonstrate how wheat responds to heat-caused changes in the air, soil, water and nearby microbes — a move that could help farmers mitigate the damaging power of heat waves. And with wheat being a global powerhouse of a crop, with over 700 million tons grown around the world every year, this information could be a great help in feeding our growing population.

“Heat waves can greatly reduce wheat in growing regions and modeling could aid in finding strategies to limit the impact of extreme weather and climate change,” said James Nuttal of Agriculture Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. “This can specifically come in handy during the sensitive periods of crop flowering and the grain filling phase.” [ More … ]