Recall roundup: a look back at August food hazards

California-based APPA Fine Foods recalled more than 90,000 pounds of its chicken Caesar salad kits because of Listeria monocytogenes concerns, according to a Food Safety and Inspection Service announcement on Aug. 21. The potentially contaminated salads – shipped throughout the country – feature the establishment number “P-21030.” Though the Food Safety and Inspection Service received no illness reports at the time of the announcement, Listeria monocytogenes can lead to Listeriosis. “Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms,” according to the announcement. The Food Safety and Inspection Service categorized the recall as a Class-I high-risk recall, meaning “there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

More than a dozen potentially hazardous food products were recalled last month, federal food-safety agencies announced. Overall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced six recalls for the month of August. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, announced at least 11 recalls for food-related products last month. Continue Reading →

Road to Rantoul: Migrant workers journey to central Illinois

The Nightengale Camp in Rantoul, Ill., is licensed by the state to house more than 400 migrant workers. The workers come north from places such as Mexico and Texas to detassle corn.

Each summer, hundreds of seasonal workers leave their homes in Texas and Mexico and travel more than 1,000 miles north to work in the corn fields of central Illinois. Many of those hundreds make their way to Rantoul, a village of about 13,000 people in Champaign County and the summer home of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign football team’s training sessions. As the sessions get underway in mid-August, the hundreds of migrant workers wrap up the first wave of agriculture work in nearby corn fields. Continue Reading →

Agricultural Act of 2014 ensures crop insurance costs will keep climbing

Crop insurance protects farmers from losses caused by extreme weather and market fluctuations. Here, water pools in fields after a strong thunderstorm near Fairmont, Ill.

Ten years ago, U.S. farmers who chose to insure their crops from weather disasters and market fluctuations received a combined total of about $3.2 billion in insurance payouts in a year. Those payouts have steadily increased by billions of dollars since then, leaving some skeptics arguing that the insurance programs – and the bulky government subsidies that go along with them – are simply welfare for farmers. Continue Reading →