Cross posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog:
In an exciting opportunity, the G-8 is inviting innovators to apply to present ideas that demonstrate how open data can be unleashed to increase food security at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data in Agriculture on April 29-30, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Open data is being used by innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to accelerate development, whether it be tracking election transparency in Kenya or providing essential information to rural farmers in Uganda. The G-8 conference will convene policy makers, thought leaders, food security stakeholders, and data experts to discuss the role of public, agriculturally-relevant data in increasing food security and to build a strategy to spur innovation by making agriculture data more accessible. As part of the conference, selected applicants will be invited to showcase innovative uses of open data for food security in either a Lightning Presentation (a 3-5 minute, image-rich presentation on the first day of the conference) or in the Exhibit Hall (an image-rich exhibit on display throughout the two-day conference). Read more »
Mosquito on human skin.
USDA is taking its battle against bad bugs “to the streets.” USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) is seeking public input in fighting insect pests, many of whom may, in public opinion, top the lists as public nuisance number one—like bedbugs and mosquitoes. Read more »
In our never-ending quest to satisfy the agricultural community’s and general public’s thirst for information, USDA Market News is collaborating with data.gov to add custom reports to our portal websites
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) collects and publishes a high volume of market information for five major commodity areas. With the addition of the custom reports feature, we are offering tools that will help farmers, ranchers, and businesses be able to manage, sort, and view our data in a more meaningful way. You can drill down and generate tailored historical reports that include only the data points you need and also download it in a variety of standard formats, like XML or plain text. Read more »
In April of all months, “audit” is the last word most Americans want to hear but last month the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service was cheering because it passed a very meaningful audit by the Office of the Inspector General. According to the OIG, FSIS is appropriately managing meat and poultry slaughter establishments’ appeals of humane handling enforcement actions.
In December 2010, USDA’s Office of Food Safety proactively asked the OIG to determine whether FSIS addressed these types of appeals in a consistent, timely, and accurate manner. The OIG audit was extensive, covering humane handling appeals filed by the industry over a four-year period from January 2007 to December 2010. Not only did OIG publish positive findings; this is the second time in more than eight years that the OIG has published a final report for FSIS without any formal recommendations. Read more »
Mobile Ask Karen makes food safety tips available whenever and wherever you need them. Look up information about safely preparing tonight’s dinner while making purchases at the meat counter.
One year ago, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service made our first leap into the world of mobile technology, bringing practical information about food safety literally to Americans’ fingertips. With the launch of our Mobile Ask Karen smartphone app, consumers are now able to ask questions like “To what temperature should I cook beef?” whenever and wherever they need the answers. Read more »
Last week, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service posted on the agency’s web site copies of recent letters that were sent to plants facing enforcement actions for inhumanely treating animals. Posting these humane handling enforcement letters on the web enhances the transparency component of this process and provides the public a clearer understanding of the types of behavior and conditions that warrant enforcement action by FSIS. This effort is part of a commitment made last year by FSIS to implement new measures to ensure the humane treatment of animals at establishments we regulate.
These letters can be accessed in the agency’s online FOIA reading room and are categorized according to each plant’s designated establishment number, which can be found inside the USDA mark of inspection on food packages at the grocery store. When inhumane handling conditions are encountered, FSIS personnel continue to take action until plant management resolves the problem, often through employee training and facility improvements. Any follow-up correspondence sent to plants also can be accessed in the online FOIA reading room. Read more »