Challenges to food safety prompt new federal action plan

A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that Food Safety and Inspection Service is failing to protect consumers from Salmonella. The report, Weaknesses in FSIS's Salmonella Regulation , released in December, calls for mandatory recall authority and more stringent testing standards. This follows of a new federal food safety action plan.

Lack of evidence stopped federal recall request in 2013 Salmonella outbreak

An Office of Public Health official said the Food Safety Inspection Service agency was not able to link a specific Foster Farms product or production method directly to the Salmonella strain linked to a multistate outbreak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety sector, lacked the appropriate evidence, said David Goldman, assistant administrator, Office of Public Health Science. Late last year, Costco and Kroger grocery stores recalled more than 40,000 pounds of Foster Farms chicken sold on the West Coast that was believed to have prompted a 23-state outbreak of Salmonella and sickened more than 400 people.

New virus threatens U.S. pork supply

The livestock and poultry industries are poised for expansion, but a new fatal virus and low inventory could prove challenging. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) is taking its toll on the U.S. hog market. PEDv was first found in the U.S. in May 2013. Now nine months later, it is in 25 states and has killed 4 million pigs.

Food recalls, beef produce and dry weather cap USDA Ag Forum

The USDA’s 2014 Agriculture Outlook Forum concluded Friday with sessions on commodities, forestry, rural development and the weather. The two-day forum covered topics related to new producer assistance, food safety, and foreign and domestic markets. It also previewed the results of the 2012 Ag Census, a survey of America’s farms and food producers. Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting covered four of Friday’s sessions. Here are highlights from those sessions as reported by Sam Robinson.

Diversity in farming encouraged, incentives offered

The USDA-sponsored Ag Outlook Forum takes place in Arlington, Va. this week with multiple panels and discussions on produce, farmers, markets and other U.S. agribusiness. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is following the event live. Yet as federal officials are urging more diversity – younger people, minorities and women – in farming, panel discussions and videos were less ethically diverse.

Census, immigration and diversity start day one of the USDA Ag Forum

Thousands are expected to gather in Arlington, Va. this week for the 2014 Agriculture Outlook Forum hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting will cover the event with daily updates live from Virginia. Here are highlights from the first day as reported by Sam Robinson. For continued live coverage, follow us on Twitter @IMidwest or @Sam_Reporting.

The 2012 Ag Census on Twitter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released preliminary data today on the 2012 Agriculture Census - taken every five years - during its Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va. Investigate Midwest reporter Sam Robinson is reporting live this week. Here's a quick look at the latest data.

Ag forum to spotlight next crop of producers

Nearly 2,000 people are expected to gather this week in Arlington, Va., during a two-day forum to discuss the future of agriculture in the United States. The 2014 Agriculture Outlook Forum hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take on topics related to new producers assistance, food safety, and foreign and domestic markets.