tampabay.com

80,000 chickens good to go after melamine scare

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 19, 2007


WASHINGTON

About 80, 000 chickens that were fed contaminated pet food scraps can be released for processing because testing showed meat from the birds is safe to eat, the Agriculture Department said Friday. The chickens, bred to lay eggs hatched for chicks, had been held on Indiana farms after eating feed that included the industrial chemical melamine blamed in the deaths of cats and dogs. Testing showed that melamine does not accumulate in birds and is quickly eliminated by their bodies, the USDA said.

LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J.

Rain helps bring fire under control

A wildfire that has burned 27 square miles of forest and 18 homes was between 90 percent and 95 percent contained Friday afternoon, aided by the second rainfall in three days. It would likely be another day or so before it was declared under control, officials said. New Jersey Air National Guard officials said the fire might have been sparked by a flare dropped from an F-16 into the tinder-dry southern New Jersey Pinelands during a training mission Tuesday. The military has promised to reimburse property owners if investigations find the jet was to blame, and officials began handing out claims forms Thursday. Elsewhere, a fire in northern Minnesota that has burned 117 square miles in the United States and Canada could be brought under control by Sunday, officials said.

CHARLESTON, W.VA.

New rules seek to avoid mine blasts

Underground coal mines will be required to take far stronger action to prevent future explosions like the one that killed 12 men at the Sago Mine last year under emergency rules issued Friday by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The rules, which take effect Tuesday, follow MSHA's conclusion that lightning sparked methane gas in a sealed section of the West Virginia mine. Mine operators will be required to give up the long-standing practice of sealing and forgetting abandoned sections of underground mines. Companies will now be required to monitor such areas for explosive gases and in some cases evacuate miners.