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Published June 02, 2014, 09:54 AM

Latest News

Salmonella outbreak widens, SDSU research explores exposure to livestock, and the ND local foods directory is now available.

By: Agweek Staff and Wire reports, Agweek

US salmonella outbreak widens, 574 sick

• WASHINGTON — Another 50 people have suffered salmonella poisoning linked to Foster Farms chicken, bringing the total to 574 cases in the U.S. since March 2013, health officials said on May 27. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the new cases were reported at an average of eight a week since an April report on new infections caused by strains of drug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg. Thirty-seven percent of those with the foodborne bacteria have been hospitalized in the outbreak that began in March 2013. About 13 percent have developed blood infections, about three times the number in typical salmonella infections, the CDC says. No deaths have been reported. Foster Farms, which is based in the U.S. West Coast, says it had developed a multiple-step approach to reduce or wipe out salmonella at each stage of production. “The company continues to make steady progress that has effectively reduced salmonella at the parts level to less than 10 percent — well below the 2011 to ’12 U.S. Department of Agriculture-measured industry benchmark of 25 percent,” the company says. It adds that salmonella incidence increased with warm weather.

SDSU research explores exposure to livestock, antibody development

• Visitors to dairies, veterinary meetings or other farm gatherings in South Dakota in the next few months, might be asked to complete a survey on health history. Natalie Thiex, a research assistant professor in biology and microbiology at South Dakota State University, is heading a study to determine if people who have contact with livestock have developed antibodies for bovine influenza. The emerging virus was first discovered in pigs and later in cows. Thiex hopes to survey 300 people living on farms and in cities — most within a 50- to 100-mile radius of Brookings, which is home to SDSU. Participants will fill out a questionnaire about health history, exposure to livestock and other demographic data, and will give a blood sample. The survey takes about 30 minutes. Among the events the scientists are expecting to attend is Dakotafest, Aug. 19 to 21 at Schlaffman Farm near Mitchell, S.D. Russ Daly, SDSU Extension Service veterinarian and Feng Li, an SDSU virologist, are involved in the study. Li and other veterinary science researchers have identified and sequenced the genome of the virus. It has a 50 percent similarity to the human influenza C virus that causes mild respiratory symptoms in people. The virus was initially identified and characterized by Ben Hause, now of Kansas State University, while he was completing his doctorate at SDSU. The team discovered bovine influenza antibodies in 1.3 percent of blood samples from residents in Connecticut and British Columbia during two influenza seasons from 2007 to 2009, but it wasn’t known how many had any link to livestock. Those interested in participating can contact Thiex at 605-688-5874 or

ND local foods directory now available

• BISMARCK, N.D. — The 2014 to ’15 edition of the North Dakota Local Foods Directory is now available both in print and online from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. “This 56-page booklet is your guide for finding fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, jams and jellies, beef, goat, lamb, poultry and other locally sourced products,” says North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “More than 160 farmers markets, roadside stands, pick-your-own gardens, home delivery produce operations and growers are listed in the new directory.” Goehring says each listing includes the name of the operation, address, phone number, description of products offered, times of operation and contact persons. Maps show the location of farmers markets. “The directory has a harvest calendar to help consumers determine the best times of the growing season to buy locally grown vegetables, fruits and bedding plants,” Goehring says. The local food movement is continuing to grow in North Dakota and across the country, he says. “More and more people are looking for fresh, locally grown foods, and North Dakota producers are responding by offering new and different products,” he says. “You support local farmers and your local economy when you buy local.” Free copies of the directory are available by contacting the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 800-242-7535 or Copies will be available at libraries, local chambers of commerce and county extension offices.

Brazil food companies to push

suppliers into emissions reporting

• SAO PAULO — Large Brazilian food companies looking to avoid environmental-based restrictions from foreign buyers have joined organizations active in climate programs to develop tools to better measure greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by themselves and their suppliers. JBS, the world’s largest beef processor; AMaggi, a top trader of soy and corn; Marfrig, a global processor of animal protein; and the local arm of food giant Bunge Ltd. have all entered a program to develop new guidelines to measure emissions from the agricultural sector. The companies want suppliers to adopt emissions reporting practices to assure investors and foreign food buyers that they are trying to produce in a sustainable way, representatives working on the program say. Washington-based World Resources Institute coordinated the work to create the guidelines to measure and report GHG. It will present this new GHG Protocol for Agriculture June 14 at a seminar in Sao Paulo. “For Brazil, it is fundamental to have this tool,” says Juliana Lopes, sustainability director at AMaggi group. “We have 3,500 associated producers in our supply chain. We want to set a chain-wide carbon management program.”


• Clarification: An article in the May 26 issue of Agweek, “BNSF single cars still slow,” could be misinterpreted. Only the information about fertilizer movement from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is required by the Surface Transportation Board. Other ag updates BNSF provides are voluntary.