Europe reports biggest bird flu epidemic ever

Bird flu cases have been reported from the Arctic islands of northern Norway to southern Portugal this year in the largest epidemic yet seen in Europe of the disease, said the E.U. food safety agency on Monday. The virus that causes highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was unusually persistent during the summer and the risk of disease among flocks would increase with autumn migratory season, it said.

How did Europe avoid a Covid-19 crisis at its meatpacking plants?

In the United States, Covid-19 has been sweeping through meatpacking plants, infecting more than 24,000 workers and killing at least 92 of them. Those figures are more than nine-times larger than at meat plants in Europe, though the U.S. industry has only a third more workers.  Bridget Huber explains how Europe largely avoided the crisis sweeping the U.S. industry in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)

Despite coronavirus worries, Europe’s food system is stable

The coronavirus has upended most aspects of life in Europe, but after a spate of hoarding early in the pandemic, shopping has returned to normal as food producers and retailers work to keep supply chains flowing and shelves stocked. This could be instructive to the United States, which is behind Europe in the progression of the disease.(No paywall)

For higher protein, try cricket bread, available in Finland

Finnish bakery Fazer is marketing loaves of bread made with crickets as an ingredient in the flour, says Food Navigator. The company says the bread has “a crunchy dough to enhance taste and increase mouthfeel.”

Monsanto no longer allowed at European parliament

Monsanto has been banned from attending European parliament proceedings after the corporation refused to appear for a parliamentary hearing, slated for October 11, to investigate regulatory interference. Monsanto is accused of influencing studies on the safety of the glyphosate, the primary ingredient in the company’s weedkiller Roundup.

Americans have it easy on meat prices, says global survey

Meat is significantly more affordable in America than it is in Europe, where prices are, on average, twice as high, and Asia, where many people can barely afford to buy it at all, says the 2017 meat-price index, released by Caterwings, a UK-based business-to-business catering service.

Trump says ‘something could happen’ on climate treaty

After meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, President Trump told reporters that he might consider recommitting the United States to the Paris climate accord, which he pulled the country out of in May, said Reuters.

French pastry-makers worry over butter shortage

Butter prices are soaring in France, the home of the croissant, whose flaky crust and satisfying taste rely on the dairy product, reports the Guardian. "There is a real risk of butter running out," says the federation of French biscuit and cake makers.

California to partner with China and Germany to battle climate change

In the wake of President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, California is teaming up with China and Germany to fight climate change.

U.S. official encouraged EU to disregard study questioning glyphosate

The former head of EPA's cancer assessment review committee, Jess Rowlands, advised European counterparts to disregard a study that linked cancer in mice to glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, said The Guardian. It said court documents show that Rowlands "had previously told Monsanto he would try to block a U.S. inquiry into the issue."

Europe poised to give glyphosate another chance

The European Commission will propose granting glyphosate — the world’s most common weedkiller and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — a 10-year renewal of its license. The commission had held off on making the proposal over controversy that the chemical was carcinogenic.

Bird-flu epidemics in Asia and Europe

Farmers in Asia and Europe have destroyed millions of birds as they combat epidemics of avian influenza, says the Wall Street Journal. The United States lost 10 percent of its egg-laying hens in its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu in 2014-15 but this time, U.S. egg producers are enjoying higher prices as they ship eggs to South Korea.

Like U.S., rural voters are a force for anti-establishment populism in Europe

They may be leftists or right-wing, but anti-establishment populists in Europe "share common ground in their core constituencies, rural voters," says the New York Times. "Just as Donald J. Trump rolled up a big rural vote in his unexpected presidential victory, Europe’s populists are rising by tapping into discontent in the countryside and exploiting rural resentments against urban residents viewed as elites."

Millions work under forced labor in the food chain, says report

The UN International Labor Organization estimates 3.5 million people around the world work in forced labor conditions in agriculture, including forestry and fishing, says Civil Eats in a story on slavery in the food chain. "This means that forced labor has played a role in the supply chains of many of the most popular food and drinks."

French wheat crop down 26 percent on poor weather

FNSEA, the French national farming union, estimates the wheat crop in Europe’s largest agricultural producer will total 30 million tonnes this year, down 26 percent from 2016 due to a rainy and cloudy weather that kept grains from filling.

EC extends glyphosate use in Europe for 18 months

The executive arm of the EU approved a short-term extension of European use of the weedkiller glyphosate while a safety study is completed. EU members are deadlocked over renewal of the license and without the intervention by the European Commission, the license would have expired today and started a six-month phase-out.

EU lacks support for temporary extension of glyphosate license

The European Commission’s plan to temporarily extend the glyphosate sales license was thwarted Monday when France, Germany, and Italy abstained from voting on the proposal, leaving the commission short of the requisite population threshold for approval, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Like U.S., EU has few young farmers, many elders

Only 6 percent of farm managers in Europe are under the age of 35, but 31 percent are 65 or older, says the news site EurActiv in a series of infographics.

Bird flu in Canada is different strain than in Europe

The avian influenza in British Columbia is H5N2, the same virus that caused previous outbreaks in Canada, says Canadian Press. Officials have quarantined four poultry farms in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver because of the disease.

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