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ST. CLOUD, MN

Woman accused of contaminating chicken at plant

A woman is facing charges for allegedly using dirt to contaminate chicken while working at a Minnesota processing plant. Prosecutors allege Faye Slye contaminated chicken at the Gold'n Plump plant in Cold Spring in June, shortly before the plant's owner recalled 27 tons of chicken for an "isolated product tampering incident" at the plant.

The 36-year-old Slye is charged with felony criminal damage to property. Cold Spring's police chief says the case led to the recall.

Court documents allege Slye smuggled in sand and dirt from the parking lot. Another worker alerted authorities to dirty chicken in June. A second incident happened the next day. Most of the recalled meat included items sold through foodservice and institutional outlets.

GARNER, IA

Listeria in Blue Bell product traced to Iowa supplier

Federal inspectors have confirmed that listeria found in a brand of Blue Bell ice cream, prompting another recall of its products, originated with a third-party supplier to the company.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter last month to Iowa-based Aspen Hills detailing the company's failures in preventing contamination.A recall in October was traced to chocolate chip cookie dough produced by Aspen Hills.

Blue Bell credited its testing program with identifying the presence of listeria in the dough. Blue Bell at the time was regaining some of its market share following a debilitating recall the year before resulting from 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.

Aspen Hills ceased production at the end of December.

EAST LANSING, MI

$12.6M bequest is largest-ever gift for vet school 

A $12.6 million bequest from an alumnus is the biggest single gift ever for Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. The late Albert C. Dehn earned his veterinary degree in 1950 and practiced in his hometown of Abbotsford, WI. He primarily treated cows on local dairy farms.

Michigan State officials say his donation initially will fund two new endowed chairs in the Large Animal Clinical Science Department and the Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigations Department. It eventually could support four endowed positions.

SIOUX FALLS, SD

Cattle numbers fluctuate in Dakotas

The number of cattle and calves in South Dakota is down slightly over the year while North Dakota experienced an uptick.

The Ag Department says in its latest report that there were 3.85 million cattle and calves in the state on Jan. 1, down 1 percent from 2016. There were 1.66 million beef cows, down slightly, and 116,000 milk cows, up 5 percent from the previous year.

Cattle in South Dakota feedlots on feed for slaughter totaled 380,000, down 13 percent. The state's 2016 calf crop totaled 1.69 million head, up 2 percent from 2015.

The number of cattle and calves in North Dakota is up over the year. The latest report indicated that there were 1.81 million cattle and calves in the state on Jan. 1, up 6 percent from 2016. There were 954,000 beef cows, up 6 percent, and 16,000 milk cows, unchanged from the previous year.

Cattle in North Dakota feedlots on feed for slaughter totaled 50,000, down 9 percent. The state's 2016 calf crop totaled 910,000 head, up 10 percent from 2015.

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