Tox Tuesday: Pros and cons of legalizing marijuana

In 2012, the world of recreational drugs took one small step for weed, one giant step for legalization as U.S. states Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana. It was the first step of many in the United States, with several states following suit by proposing similar laws.

Some states, such as California and Oregon, have previously voted on measures to decriminalize the drug with no success. Even more states, including the nation’s capitol, are expected to vote on similar measures in the upcoming 2014 voting cycle, or are preparing bills for voting cycles at a later time. Even the mainstream media has gotten on board with legalization: The New York Times’ editorial board has recently endorsed the decriminalization of the drug, saying that the ban is “inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.” [ More ... ]

Here are your Tuesday links

Refridge-Freezer_empty_blogDon’t have time to scour the internet for the latest food safety, animal safety, life sciences and agriculture news? Relax, we’ve got it covered.

Animal safety

Cattle Outlook: Empty Freezers – Ag Web

The USDA Cold Storage report released last Friday showed that total stocks of beef, pork, chicken and turkey in U.S. freezers at the end of July were 292 million pounds less than July 2013, a decrease of 12.7%. [ More ... ]

Biotoxin outbreak impacting California coast sea life

Blog_cocklesThe spread of algal blooms along stretches of the California’s Central Coast has produced an outbreak of a deadly biotoxin, and resulted in the deaths of large numbers of marine animals.

Scientists have identified the marine biotoxin domoic acid as the culprit in the outbreak. Domoic acid is produced by algae and accumulates in shellfish and small fish, which are then eaten by sea lions, otters, sea birds and humans, among others. Along the California coast, the effects have included numerous sea lions suffering seizures and dying, and pelicans dropping dead from the sky. [ More ... ]

Texas having self-sized problem with rats

Rat-in-Garbage_blogWhile not yet a rat-pocalypse, favorable weather conditions have helped create a spike in rat numbers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, and other areas of Texas.

“We’ve really got a rat explosion,” said Cliff Moore, owner of DFW-based Animal Services Inc, as quoted in the Dallas Observer.  “It’s throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, the whole metroplex really.”

Jerry Falke, wildlife damage management biologist for AgriLife Extension’s Texas Wildlife Services, said the increase in rodents seen this year began with last year’s rodent-friendly weather conditions. [ More ... ]

Canada introduces labels for mechanically tenderized beef

Meat_Tenderizing_Canada_blogShoppers in Canada can now easily determine if the beef they are considering for purchase has been mechanically tenderized.

In response to a 2012 outbreak of E. coli associated with mechanically tenderized beef (MTB), the Canadian government mandated the use of labels that clearly indicate MTB, and also include instructions to safely prepare the product.

“There will be a sticker on the package that informs the shopper that is the method by which this meat has been tenderized,” said Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose, as quoted by CBC news. “People need to know when they see that it’s also their responsibility to cook that meat all the way through.” [ More ... ]

Monday Mycotoxin Report, August 25

mmrEach week, we are happy to present to you the weekly Monday Mycotoxin Report, sharing data and statistics from the agriculture industry. To learn more about drought, crop yields and mycotoxin levels, please watch the video below. [ More ... ]

DON outbreak impacting pockets of U.S. and Canadian wheat

Wheat_HeadScab_blog1The harvesting of winter wheat in the United States and Canada has brought reports of wheat contaminated with deoxynivalenol (a.k.a., DON and vomitoxin) far in excess of the maximum allowable amounts for use in human food and animal feed.

“Our highest that we’ve seen is 30 parts per million. Typically, the market likes to see it at two or less, and they [the USDA] will not accept it over 10,” said grain broker Kayla Burkhart, as reported by KFYR-TV in North Dakota. “Grains into the high teens and above that, it’s going to be really hard to find a home for.”  [ More ... ]

Here are your Monday links

milk_insuranceDon’t have time to scour the internet for the latest food safety, animal safety, life sciences and agriculture news? Relax, we’ve got it covered.

Food safety

After food safety scares, China retailer offers baby milk insurance – Fox News

A Chinese retailer is offering insurance to customers who buy infant milk powder, highlighting the lengths to which companies are going to address concern about food safety in China. [ More ... ]

Have an appetite for pet apps?

I have a little bit of an addiction to my phone. It is constantly in my pocket or within a foot of me, tantalizing me with the numerous games and apps I have on it—not to mention hundreds of pictures of my dog. Much of my life is in that phone: a calorie tracker, reminders and appointments, emails and more.

Thanks to technology, now much of Chewbacca’s life is on that phone, too, with several apps that help keep her (and other pets) healthy and happy. [ More ... ]

Experts eye imported eggs as source of Salmonella outbreak in England

eggsmixed_blogA recent outbreak of Salmonella in England has led authorities to issue warnings concerning the use of imported eggs.

Reports have identified the strain of Salmonella responsible for outbreak as Salmonella enteritidis PT14b, a strain of particular concern to the egg industry. The strain has not been found in eggs in the United Kingdom (UK), and has previously been linked to Salmonella outbreaks in the UK from imported eggs, according to reports. [ More ... ]