In the fields of Iowa where I grew up, organic soy and corn does indeed exist alongside genetically modified (or “GMO”) varieties. But the policy allowing so-called “coexistence” of organic and GMO crops now in place in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one-sided and precarious at best.
More than 90 percent of the soybeans and corn grown on U.S. soil are from GMO seeds, which are modified to withstand heavy applications of herbicides and pesticides. Among those pesticides is 2,4-D, which contains the same chemical used in Agent Orange. Read more
Normally, news that Costco is test-marketing a new farm-raised salmon wouldn’t exactly make headlines—but this fish tale is different than the others.
This is the story of a salmon that has the potential to move the aquaculture industry away from the practice of using wild-caught forage fish as food for larger species—a practice that concerns both environmentalists and scientists. Species like anchovy, sardines, and menhaden are the very cornerstone of the ocean’s food web. Too much pressure on these important stocks could have profound ripple effects if we continue scooping them out of the ocean to feed farmed fish. Read more
“Funny” isn’t the first word that comes to mind of when we think of the organic food industry. But a coalition of mid- to large-sized organic food companies—including Earthbound Organics, Stonyfield, Annie’s, and Organic Valley—hopes to change that. Read more
What’s going on with GMOs in our food? Scientists and food movement leaders will discuss the issues in depth, unfiltered by the media, in a virtual conference available free online from January 27-30 called “GMOs: What You Need to Know.” Read more
The enactment of policies to curb marketing to children has been, to put it mildly, an uphill battle in the United States. While television ads and billboards are the most blatant examples, the more subtle–yet just as pervasive–variations are the most troubling. Read more
If you’re like me, you’ve known for a while that the U.S. is negotiating a new trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but you haven’t taken the time to figure out exactly why it matters. Hey, I don’t blame us—there’s a reason it’s hard to understand: The corporations and governments negotiating the deal don’t want our opinions slowing down their shiny new free-trade agreement. Read more
Earlier this month, USDA welcomed in the new year by presenting Dow AgroSciences with a bountiful gift: A virtual green light for the pesticide company’s new genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean seeds. These crops are designed specifically to be used with Dow’s infamous herbicide, 2,4-D. Read more
If you’ve been reading the running commentary over at Grist for the past six months, journalist Nathanael Johnson has been opining about genetic engineering in agriculture, diving into the debate and surfacing now with a final “what I learned” piece. His column has gotten a lot of attention from news media writing about his “exploration” of genetically engineered (GE) food or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and has sparked heated comments on his blog, but his reporting has done little to help people understand what’s really at stake in the debate about this technology, which in my opinion, is a hell of a lot. Read more
Last week, the food industry congratulated itself for cutting calories from its products after one major corporation, General Mills, announced that Cheerios would henceforth be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Both stories generated plenty of media attention, and in an era when food companies are widely criticized for their poor quality foods, the industry needs all the good press it can get. But if you scratch just below the surface with both of these stories you’ll find little more than meaningless “changes” made for appearance’s sake. Read more
Sporting a motley mix of rain gear, some 700 people trickled into a 7-Eleven parking lot on the south end of town by noon. Among the crowd were most of the key figures involved in the fight against the GMO companies in the Hawaiian islands — from grassroots activists, to politicians, to Hollywood stars, to pro-surfers and locals from the beleaguered west side of Kauai island. Many had flown to Honolulu in the morning and made the hour-long drive across the island to the North Shore despite the heavy downpour. Read more