Weekly Update

March 21, 2019
Since China initially reported its first case of African swine fever (ASF) in August 2018, 28 of the 32 administrative areas in the country have now reported incidences of ASF. Despite the authorities efforts to control the spread of the disease, there has been an average of three new provinces per month reporting outbreaks of ASF.
March 14, 2019
In the age of free information, misinformation, and incomplete information, it’s often challenging for the info-hungry consumer to distinguish evidence-based facts from alternative facts, and truthful reporting from fake news. This concept is not new for you, readers. Collectively, we regularly debunk myths that threaten the integrity of our work, from correctly defining GMOs to preserving and defending appropriate farm animal welfare.
March 5, 2019
The Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota published a report which outlines the extent of the lead problem in Minnesota’s residential drinking water and estimates the costs to eliminate it. The Minnesota Legislature directed the analysis in 2017, in the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
February 28, 2019
Biodiversity is the variety of life at genetic, species and ecosystem levels. In terms of agriculture, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, biodiversity “includes the domesticated plants and animals that are part of crop, livestock, forest or aquaculture systems, harvested forest and aquatic species, the wild relatives of domesticated species, and other wild species harvested for food and other products." It also encompasses what is known as “associated biodiversity,” the vast range of organisms that live in and around food and agricultural production systems, sustaining them and contributing to their output.
February 21, 2019
An investigation into a case of drug-resistant human brucellosis that started in November 2018 was traced to Miller’s Biodiversity Farm in Pennsylvania. Brucella bacteria is usually killed in the pasteurization process, but the farm marketed raw milk products. The state quarantined sales of products while the investigation was taking place.
February 7, 2019
Undercover footage filmed in an abattoir in Poland appears to show extremely sick cows being slaughtered. The video from a slaughterhouse located in the central Polish region of Mazovia depicts sick cows unable to stand and being dragged by their horns and legs out of trucks and into the abattoir using a winch.
February 5, 2019
Two recent cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at Alomere health hospital in Alexandria, Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health is working with Alomere Health of Alexandria to investigate the cases. The initial case was reported late November 2018 and subsequently recovered, while a second case developed symptoms late January 2019 and remains in hospital.
January 29, 2019
Last week, farm advocates, families affected by farmer suicide, and mental health counselors called on Minnesota lawmakers in the House Agriculture, Food Finance, and Policy Committee to fast-track three funding bills for farmer support resources. The bills would provide $150,000 in additional funding through June 2019 for state mental health programs, including training for additional mental health counselors. The bills would also triple the funding for the next two years.
January 22, 2019
A recent study found that a bacteria-derived compound might provide a novel option in protecting against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison examined a bacterium called Xenorhabdus budapestensis that lives inside roundworms.
January 17, 2019
Voters are concerned about how their food is produced and are actively using their votes to make changes. The most recent election cycle brought about another animal welfare voter initiative in California, Proposition 12, which establishes minimum space requirements based on square feet for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens and bans the sale of products from operations that don’t meet the requirements.

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