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Chinese “seed spy” gets three years in prison

In this case it was a Chinese national named Mo Hailong, aka Robert Mo, who was trying to steal patented corn seed for the Chinese bioengineering firm Dabeinong Technology Group Company (DBN), which he worked for, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Mo, a legal resident of the U.S. who was the director of international business for DBN, was sentenced this week in U.S District Court in Des Moines to three years in federal prison followed by three years of probation and an as-yet-to-be-determined-amount of restitution for conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

Tyson Foods, a meat leader, invests in protein alternatives

Tyson Foods appears to be the first big meat company to invest in a business that, among other things, aims to reduce consumption of chicken, beef and pork by replacing it with plant proteins.  Tyson, the country’s largest meat processor, announced last week that it was investing an undisclosed amount for a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat, a company based in El Segundo, Calif., that makes “meats” from protein sources like soy and peas.

Gene-engineered gut bacteria successfully treat sick mice — and could treat humans someday

In the study, one group of hypertensive mice got bacteria carrying the protein, another group got just the bacteria, and a third group received no treatment at all. After four weeks of twice-a-day treatment, the researchers found that mice getting the tweaked probiotic had reduced blood pressure, reduced heart wall thickness, and better heart contraction than either the untreated group or the group that received only bacteria.

Listeria recalls prompt another look at control efforts

So far this year USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has reported more listeria-related recalls than the agency reported in 2013, 2014 and 2015 — combined. Although more robust testing surely is a factor in the increase, notably several recalls also represented the intersection of FSIS- and FDA-regulated companies. In none of those three recalls involving both sides were the products that meat processors make contaminated with Lm, which on the one hand speaks to the general success that meat processors have had in keeping that pathogen off their products.

FSIS seeks comments on animal-raising claims on labels

Federal regulators have released an update on the documentation needed to win approval of animal-raising claims on labels before they can appear on meat products. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – which regulates labels on meat and poultry – wants more details on how claims such as “organic” or “raised without antibiotics” were achieved as animals were raised. The agency also wants to see documentation to support the claim to make sure the label is “truthful and not misleading."

Winter Is Coming, And It Could Get Wicked

According to AccuWeather’s winter 2016-2017 outlook, chances are high for temperature and precipitation extremes to impact large portions of the U.S., making a long season seem even longer for many.  Of particular note for Florida citrus growers, reports indicate that while very mild air is expected to hang on in the Southeast region throughout December, 2017 will bring with it a pattern change and sudden burst of cold air. Other highlights from the forecast include:Frequent storms across the northeastern U.S.

Cuba, Louisiana sign memoranda on ports, agriculture

Cuban authorities and officials from the U.S. state of Louisiana on Tuesday here signed memoranda pertaining to ports and agriculture after a business forum attended by a trade delegation headed by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. The understanding signed by the Port Authority of Cuba and the Port Association of Louisiana includes installations in the New Orleans and Lake Charles areas, and the other agreement was signed by Cuba's Agriculture Business Group and the state's Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

EPA announces settlement with Western Dubuque regarding RFS

EPA and the Department of Justice announced a settlement with Western Dubuque to address alleged violations of the Renewable Fuel Standard on Oct. 4 and the filing of a complaint against NGL Crude Logistics, LLC and Western Dubuque Biodiesel LLC. Under the settlement, Western Dubuque has agreed to pay $6 million to resolve alleged Renewable Fuel Standard program violations for generating RINs for renewable fuel that was produced using unapproved feedstocks and production processes. A feedstock is the basic material used in the production of renewable fuel.

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