Pandora Report 6.14.15

I’ve got brunch reservations this morning so the big story about the coming egg shortage is hitting close to home. We’ve also got a story about ISIS’ WMD and a bunch of stories you may have missed.

As a final reminder, the Early Registration Deadline for the Pandemics, Bioterrorism, and International Security is tomorrow, Monday, June 15. For more information and registration, please click here.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Egg Shortage Scrambles U.S. Food Industries

The unprecedented outbreak of avian influenza in the U.S. has meant massive losses in the domestic poultry industry which has left experts warning that U.S. consumers are very likely to see an increase in egg prices. Cases of avian flu have been reported in 15 states, with Iowa and Minnesota being some of the hardest hit. “In Minnesota, the number of lost turkeys represent about 11 percent of our total turkey production…of the chickens we’ve lost that are laying eggs, 32 percent… have been affected by this” In Iowa, about 40 percent of the state’s egg-laying chickens and 11 percent of its turkeys have been affected. All these losses will mean a shortage of whole eggs and other egg-based products.

U.S. News and World Report—“Consumers haven’t felt the pinch too much just yet, but they are unlikely to emerge with their pocketbooks unscathed, [Rick] Brown [Senior VP at Urner Barry, a food commodity research and analysis firm]. He says two-thirds of all eggs produced in the U.S. remain in a shell, many of which are placed in cartons and sold in grocery stores. This stock of eggs has been hit significantly less by the avian flu outbreak than those used in the egg products industry, which Brown says encompasses “everything from mayonnaise to salad dressings to cake mixes to pasta to bread.”

Australian Official Warns of Islamic State Weapons of Mass Destruction

You may have already seen this, since this story was everywhere this week. Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the Islamic State (ISIS) already has and is already using chemical weapons. Bishop made these comments in an address to the Australia Group—a coalition of 40 countries seeking to limit the spread of biological and chemical weapons. In a follow-up interview, Bishop also said that NATO was concerned about the theft of radioactive material and what that could mean for nuclear weapons proliferation.

The Washington Post—“‘The use of chlorine by Da’ish, and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the West, have revealed far more seriou­s efforts in chemical weapons development,” Bishop said, using an alternate name for the Islamic State in a speech reported by the Australian. She did not specify the source of her information.  “… Da’ish is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons.’”

Stories You May Have Missed


Image Credit: Hannahdownes

Mexico joins Australia Group

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, the Australia Group is an informal consortium of countries seeking to restrict unintentional transfer of dual-use chemical/biological materials, through participation in voluntary export controls. The group arose in 1984, following Iraq’s ability to purchase chemical weapons components through legitimate international channels. The Australia Group fills a critical niche internationally, helping to prevent the unintentional proliferation of WMD components. The group has since expanded from its 15 founding members to include 42 countries and the European Union, with Mexico joining yesterday as its 42 member.

From the press release:

In warmly welcoming Mexico to the Group, the other Australia Group members recognised the Government of Mexico’s steadfast efforts to bring Mexico’s export control system fully into line with AG common control lists and guidelines, and its determination to contribute even more effectively to the global effort to prevent the proliferation of CBW in the security interests of all members of the international community. Mexico has also underlined its continuing commitment to WMD non-proliferation and to strengthening international standards for best practice export controls.

In joining the Group, the Government of Mexico said it would contribute constructively to the achievement of the Group’s objectives and to support its principles, in the interest of disarmament, global security and non-proliferation. As an AG Participant, Mexico would also promote the fulfilment of international obligations created under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and UN Security Council Resolution 1540, among others.

Read the full release here.

(image via Kate Sheets/Flickr)