Industry

Lawsuit Holds Purina Accountable For 4,000 Dog Deaths - BarkPost

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Recently, Purina’s Beneful dog food brand has come under fire in the form of a class-action lawsuit.

Various online complaints have been lodged against the pet food company over the years. However, plaintiff Frank Lucido brought it one step further when he filed his lawsuit on February 5th.

According to Top Class Actions, the lawsuit is charging Nestle Purina with:

“…breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability, violating California’s consumer legal remedies act, violating California’s Unfair Competition Law, and violating California’s False Advertising Law.”

The lawsuit lists the following problems dogs have suffered from that they claim are linked to the Beneful dry kibble products:

- Stomach and related internal bleeding problems

- Liver malfunction or failure

- Bloat and kidney failure

Assurances needed for kiwifruit industry

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The kiwifruit industry is seeking assurances that the Ministry for Primary Industries is doing everything it can to lower the chances of pests and disease entering New Zealand.

Allan Dawson, managing director of Katikati post-harvest company Aongatete, says the discovery of Queensland Fruit Flies in Auckland is of considerable concern to the industry.

The discovery of Queensland Fruit Fly in Auckland has put the kiwifruit industry on edge ahead of the main season.

I don't pretend to understand all that is involved in biosecurity at our borders, says Allan, but we have to have dialogue to find out what else can be done to stop pests and disease arriving.

This is not just about the kiwifruit industry. The Queensland Fruit Fly is a bad one which affects many crops and we don't want it here.

Allan says the penalties for bringing in fruit and vegetables undeclared across the borders don't appear to be tough enough.

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Strategy Laid out to Make British Farming More Competitive

UK - A four point strategy has been laid out by the British government to make British farming more competitive, more productive and more resilient.

In the government’s long term economic plan for food and farming, secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs, Liz Truss sold the National Farmers’ Union Conference in Birmingham that more needed to be done to help British farming by cutting red tape and building resilience.

She said the four priorities were to:

“Modern food production needs technical, scientific and management know-how,” she told the conference.

“It is hungry for skilled people.”

Mrs Truss said that through Food Enterprise Zones the industry has been able to expand and add value to products by boosting local economies and joining up farming, manufacturing, distribution and retail firms.

She said there was a need to help farmers and food businesses deal with global market volatility and the burden of red tape that was weighing on farmers had to be reduced.

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Vietnam checks imports as hep A scare linked to Chinese berries spreads

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Vietnam Food Administration announced Monday that it is verifying if berries from China are being sold in the country after a number of Australians contracted hepatitis A from eating contaminated berries.

The food safety regulator will coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and agencies abroad for latest information so it can issue timely warnings, it said.

As of February 21, Australian health authorities have confirmed 18 cases of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries packaged in China and imported by Patties Foods.

Patties Foods has recalled four products including the Nanna's and Creative Gourmet brands of mixed berries and Nanna's raspberries after infections in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, AFP reported.

The berries were grown in Chile and China before being packaged at a Chinese factory, according to the newswire.

Although it is still unclear if Vietnam imports the related berries, several Chinese fruits have already been found with harmful substances.

PM pledges stricter labelling

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has promised tighter food labelling laws in the wake of the scandal involving hepatitis A-contaminated berries imported from China.

The changes under consideration, however, would not have prevented the problem with the frozen berries because they were already clearly labelled as "made in China" and "product of China".

Nonetheless, the frozen berry issue has rekindled long-simmering concerns among the Coalition backbench which an embattled Mr Abbott cannot afford to ignore.

After several MPs used Tuesday's weekly party room meeting to demand better food labelling laws, the Prime Minster gave a commitment to respond. He has assigned Small Business Minister Bruce Billson, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash to develop a proposal.

It will be limited to removing ambiguity about the origin of the contents of an item and where it was packaged. Presently, labelling can be as vague as to say "Made in Australia from local and imported products".

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NZ industry hopeful for fruit fly eradication despite female detection

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New Zealand growers close to the area where there have been recent detections of Queensland fruit fly are hoping the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has successfully restricted the pest, website Radionz.co.nz reported.

Since the first fruit fly discovery last week in an Auckland suburb, more detections have been made, including one of a female fruit fly.

Radionz.co.nz said NZ Citrus Growers Inc chairman Rick Curtis believed the discovery of a female fruit fly in Grey Lynn might mean a breeding problem was present.

“It’s more of a concern than it is for a single male fly, obviously, because it signifies that you might have a breeding population, but [the infestation] is small and we’ve had this before and successfully eradicated it,” Curtis was quoted as saying.

“The Queensland fruit fly is spreading right throughout Australia, and it’s good from our industry’s point of view to see MPI acknowledging the increased risk and moving to improve x-ray surveillance and the use of sniffer dogs on inbound luggage from Australia.”

China: AQSIQ puts U.S. citrus industry on notice

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No sooner had the California citrus industry settled in to the Chinese market than their export deal was once again under jeopardy from the country’s authorities.

Due to several inspections of the pathogen Phytophthora syringae in Shanghai, China will not allow any citrus imports from Tulare County that were shipped on or after Feb. 18, and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has either returned or destroyed the intercepted fruit.

In a note published on Feb. 16 on the AQSIQ website, the authority called on all China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) branches to be on high alert for oranges from other citrus-growing regions of the U.S. as well.

“Once intercepted, they must be sampled and sent to the lab for testing while shipments will be on hold,” AQSIQ said.

The notice is effective for six months.

North Dakota Sees Sharp Decrease in Number of Small Farms

The sharp decrease in the number of small farms and ranches last year is part of a growing trend toward fewer but larger farms in the state, leaders in North Dakota's agricultural industry said.

The U.S. Agriculture Department's National Agricultural Statistics Service annual figures, released last week, show the 30,300 operations statewide at the end of 2014 was 500 fewer than 2013. The agency said the number of farms and ranches with less than $100,000 in agricultural sales declined 1,100 farms from the year earlier, while operations with more than $100,000 were up 600 farms from 2013.

Darin Jantzi, the state statistician for USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service in Fargo, said the decline in small farm numbers isn't uncommon.

"The smaller farms are getting to be fewer and fewer and the bigger farms are getting bigger because they're able to absorb the fluctuations of the volatility of the markets," he said. "The land is still there. It's just the bigger farms are getting bigger and the smaller ones are getting out."

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WA warns Victoria to adopt weed control without relying on herbicides

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Updated February 25, 2015 13:00:15

A West Australia research group is warning Victorian farmers to adopt alternative weed control methods before herbicide resistance builds up.

Peter Newman is from the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative in WA, where resistant weeds are a big problem.

Mr Newman told farmers in north-west Victoria that they need to start adapting alternative methods to destroy weed seeds, rather than just relying on herbicides.

He said most farmers in areas around Mildura were working in a continuous cropping regime and brome grass resistance was just starting to show.

Mr Newman said farmers should start looking at "wind row burning, or putting chaff on permanent tram lines for control traffic" style farming.

"If we can get maybe 50 per cent of the brome grass into a narrow wind row, that can be enough to tip the balance in your favour."

Mr Newman said the future of weed control was about using a diverse range of tactics from herbicide and non-herbicide options.

Forestry Tasmania's contingency plan for exotic plant disease myrtle rust - ABC Online

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Updated February 24, 2015 09:36:28

Forestry Tasmania is optimistic that the state's cooler weather will diminish the impact of the exotic fungus myrtle rust.

On Friday Biosecurity Tasmania announced the discovery of myrtle rust in a garden hedge at Burnie in the North West of the state, with another four cases in the region confirmed this week.

Myrtle Rust attacks eucalypts, bottle brush, tea tree and other plants from the myrtaceae family.

It has damaged tree plantations and nature reserves in Victoria and New South Wales.

Principal scientist for ecosystems services with Forestry Tasmania Dr Tim Wardlaw said the discovery of any new disease is obviously of concern.

He said Forestry Tasmania has been working with the Department of Primary Industry on a state contingency plan to better understand the risks posed by the disease.

"I think the signs are that the damage, if it doesn't become established here, is not as severe as we are seeing in the sub tropics and tropical areas of Australia where it is causing widespread damage in native forest," he said.

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