USDA approves genetically engineered purple tomato

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said Wednesday that it had approved the sale of a genetically engineered tomato altered to change its color and enhance its nutritional quality. The purple tomato was developed to have high levels of anthocyanins, which are linked with health benefits.

USDA adds $263 million for bird flu costs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved the second infusion of additional funding to the agency fighting outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza from the Atlantic to the Rockies, said the USDA on Wednesday.

Deadly bird flu found in two more states

State and federal officials said they would kill infected poultry flocks in Kentucky and Virginia to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), a deadly poultry disease. The Agriculture Department reported the new cases on Monday and asked trading partners to minimize the impact on poultry exports if they decide to restrict entry of U.S. chicken meat because of the disease.

Bird flu confirmed in wild duck in South Carolina

Poultry farmers should review their biosecurity safeguards for their flocks against avian influenza following the discovery of the highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 variant in a wild duck in South Carolina, said the USDA.

Second bird flu outbreak in Missouri in two days

Just one day after officials reported bird flu on a turkey farm in Missouri’s Jasper County, they confirmed another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a poultry farm in neighboring Lawrence County. The discovery increased the toll of “high path” bird flu among U.S. domestic flocks since Feb. 8 to 3.04 million birds, almost all of them chickens or turkeys.

Citrus canker found at South Carolina nursery

Citrus canker, a bacterial disease that causes lesions on leaves, stems, and fruit, was discovered at a South Carolina nursery that sells plants over the internet, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. The USDA said it was tracking sales to customers in 11 states as part of efforts to contain the disease.

Bird flu toll leaps to 2.8 million chickens and turkeys

With new outbreaks in Iowa and Missouri, nearly 2.8 million birds—almost entirely chickens and turkeys—have died in one month due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the Agriculture Department said on Monday. The viral disease has been identified in 23 poultry farms and backyard flocks in a dozen states since Feb. 8.

Indiana finds bird flu at sixth turkey farm

Avian influenza was identified at a sixth turkey farm in southern Indiana, and state officials said on Tuesday the 16,500 birds on the farm would be killed while they wait for confirmation of the viral disease. Meanwhile, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said 1.6 million turkeys, chickens and other fowl have died as part of this year's outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Southern Indiana is center of U.S. bird flu outbreaks

State officials reported the fifth outbreak of deadly bird flu on turkey farms in Indiana, one of the top turkey-producing states in the nation, on Wednesday. Eleven cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been reported in domestic flocks in the eastern half of the United States in the past two weeks.

USDA to create ‘protection zone’ against disease deadly to hogs

In a step to protect U.S. swine and pork exports, the USDA said on Thursday that it will establish a "foreign animal disease protection zone" in two Caribbean territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. African swine fever was confirmed a month ago in the Dominican Republic.

Lawsuit would overturn Trump-era rules on genetically engineered crops

The USDA “unconstitutionally delegated its own duties to protect farmers and the environment to GE crop developers” when it exempted most genetically engineered plants from pre-market reviews in 2020, said a coalition of farm, environment and consumer groups in a lawsuit filed on Monday. In it, …

USDA changes tactics against emerald ash borer

Quarantines failed to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer, which has killed tens of millions of ash trees in North America, so the USDA said on Monday it will take a new approach against the half-inch-long beetle. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it will combat the pest …

USDA should stop environmentally risky ‘depopulation’ methods, advocates say

The Department of Agriculture should restrict certain animal disposal methods used by farmers who euthanize herds during the Covid-19 pandemic, and make information about those “depopulation” events public, says a coalition of environmental groups that petitioned the agency Monday.(No paywall)

New USDA regulation waives review of many biotech plants

Three decades into the agricultural biotechnology era, the USDA said on Thursday that it will exempt genetically engineered plants from pre-market reviews if they are unlikely to pose an environmental risk. Opponents of the move said it means "a majority of genetically engineered and gene-edited plants will now escape any oversight" by the USDA.

South Carolina flock culled after bird flu discovery

The USDA confirmed a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a turkey flock in South Carolina and said on Thursday that all of the birds had been killed to prevent spread of the disease. It was the first case of "high path" bird flu in a commercial poultry plant in the United States since 2017.

USDA allows live foot-and-mouth virus on U.S. mainland

For the first time since 1929, a version of the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease, a highly infectious livestock disease, will be allowed on the U.S. mainland, said the USDA on Thursday.

Alabama has case of mad cow disease

An 11-year-old cow, intercepted at a livestock market in Alabama, is the fifth U.S. case of mad cow disease, the brain-wasting fatal disease found generally in older cattle, said the USDA. "This finding ... should not lead to any trade issues," said USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, because it was the "atypical" type that seems to occur spontaneously.

USDA expands review of cyanide traps against predators

Following reports of dead pets and the possible exposure of a teenager to cyanide, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is expanding its review of the use of spring-loaded traps to poison livestock predators in the West.

Undersecretary Avalos to leave USDA at mid-month

Ed Avalos, the agriculture undersecretary in charge of marketing and regulatory programs, will leave USDA in mid-September, said The Hagstrom Report. Given the short time before a new administration takes office, a spokesman told the newsletter that USDA would try to promote someone already in office to handle the job for the next few months.

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