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Where is Ebola hiding and when will it be back

CNN | Posted on October 11, 2016

There was a certain kind of quiet hopefulness when, in late April this year, the last Ebola patient of the West African epidemic -- a two-year-old boy -- walked out of a treatment facility in Monrovia, Liberia. With the smoldering embers of the outbreak fading, there was cause for celebration. But there remains the impotent fear of the unseen: Ebola is still out there, lurking. We just don't know where it's hiding or when it will be back. And if we're going to stop Ebola in the future, we have to find its hiding places. Ebola is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can spread between animals and humans. It burns hot and fast through people. Its ruthless nature means that we are often the end of the line for the virus: a host like us that gets too sick too fast, that dies too quickly, cuts down the virus's ability to jump into a fresh body. To remain a threat, Ebola needs a safe house in which to lie low and hide.

Members of EPA glyphosate panel chosen

Agri-Pulse | Posted on October 6, 2016

EPA has finalized the membership of the panel that will examine the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. The list of scientific experts was posted without fanfare on EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel website. The agency also has posted the agenda for the meeting, which will take place Oct. 18-21 at the Office of Pesticide Programs building in Crystal City, Va.

Justin Trudeau gives provinces until 2018 to adopt carbon price plan

CBC.CA | Posted on October 4, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took provinces by surprise Monday by announcing they have until 2018 to adopt a carbon pricing scheme, or the federal government will step in and impose a price for them. A tough-talking Trudeau told MPs in the House of Commons that provinces can craft a cap-and-trade system or put a direct price on carbon pollution — but it must meet the federal benchmark or "floor price."  "If neither price nor cap and trade is in place by 2018, the government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction," he said.  Trudeau made the announcement in leading off parliamentary debate on the Paris climate change agreement Monday, making the case for Canada to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. 

Paris climate deal: EU backs landmark agreement

BBC | Posted on October 4, 2016

The deal aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperature increases "well below" 2C.  It was approved with 610 votes in favour, 38 against and with 31 abstentions. The vote, attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, paves the way for the pact to come into force globally. The deal means national ministers can now ratify the agreement on behalf of the EU later this week. To become operational, the treaty needs at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions to complete all the steps. "With the action taken by the EU parliament, I am confident that we will be able to cross the 55% threshold very soon, in just a matter of a few days," Mr Ban said. "I am extremely honoured to be able to witness this historic moment," he added. It comes after India, one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters, became the latest country to ratify the deal on Sunday.

FSIS updates guidelines on animal-raising label claims

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on October 3, 2016

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today the availability of an updated compliance guideline on documentation required to support animal-raising claims on product labels that processors must submit to the agency for approval of their use on product labels. The updated guideline reflects FSIS’s current position and procedures for reviewing animal-raising claims and includes explanations of animal-raising claims that FSIS may approve as well as the types of supporting documentation that the agency requires. Examples of animal-raising claims include but are not limited to:  “Raised Without Antibiotics,” “Organic,” “Grass- Fed,” “Free-Range” and “Raised without the use of hormones.”

Law updating Packers and Stockyards Act passes Senate

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on October 3, 2016

The U.S. Senate passed a bill that revises the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to include video and online sales of livestock.  The legislation -- H.R. 5883, the Clarification of Treatment of Electronic Sales of Livestock Act of 2016 -- passed the House of Representatives and is now headed to the White House.

VFD directive brings veterinarians and beekeepers together

AVMA | Posted on October 3, 2016

Come Jan. 1, 2017, hobbyist and commercial beekeepers alike will no longer be able to purchase antimicrobials over the counter, but instead, will need a veterinary feed directive or prescription for the drugs they administer to their honeybees.  The federal mandate requiring veterinary oversight of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals, including honeybees, is part of a Food and Drug Administration strategy to reform the way these drugs are legally used in food animals. 

House Committee Looks Into International Cancer Agency

DTN | Posted on September 29, 2016

Because the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, receives federal funding, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is launching an inquiry into the National Institutes of Health's support for the group that has made several controversial proclamations about agricultural chemicals and their safety.  Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the committee chairman, asked in a letter to the National Institute of Health to provide a number of documents and to agree to a briefing with committee staff. Although the IARC's work has faced scrutiny in agriculture circles for its classification of herbicides glyphosate and 2,4-D as "probably carcinogenic" to humans, the IARC has assessed 989 substances as of April 2016. The group determined just one ingredient found in nylon is "probably not" carcinogenic. That means the other 988 substances either pose some level of risk, according to IARC, or require more research to determine the level of risk. In his letter, Chaffetz said conclusions by the IARC have contradicted a body of science on glyphosate, 2,4-D and a number of other substances.

Catfish Controversy Continues: Lawmakers Push To Upend USDA Inspection Program

The National Law Review | Posted on September 29, 2016

Earlier this year, FDA transferred jurisdiction over catfish inspection to USDA.  By way of background, FDA regulates the majority of the U.S. food supply, while USDA exercises jurisdiction over meat, poultry, and egg products.  Although FDA historically has regulated fish and fishery products, the 2008 Farm Bill required FDA to divest its authority over the inspection of Siluriformes fish (including catfish) to USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). On September 13, 2016, two hundred lawmakers sent a letter to House of Representative leaders calling for “immediate consideration” of a bipartisan resolution that would scrap USDA’s catfish program, arguing that the best use of taxpayer dollars is to have one regulator for seafood – FDA. The catfish inspection program continues to prove controversial, with some industry stakeholders insisting that USDA jurisdiction over catfish provides a marketplace advantage, while many others contend that it is a waste of regulatory and taxpayer resources.  It remains to be seen how the House leadership will respond, but in the meantime, it remains clear that this inspection program will continue to generate controversy.

6,000+ Corn Farmers Push Congress to Pass TTP Trade Deal

AgWeb | Posted on September 29, 2016

U.S. corn farmers are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to pushing for passage of the TransPacific Trade Partership (TTP) trade deal. At least 6,325 corn farmers have written letters to urge members of Congress to pass the 12-member trade pact.