Colorado is now home to some of the nation’s first certified organic cannabis, which comes with a blessing from federal regulators. CBDRx, a Longmont, Colorado cannabis farm, has secured a certification to market its products with the organic seal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a major coup for the plant’s enthusiasts. Read more
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About three hours outside of Lahore, Pakistan, Malik Anwaar (pictured below) and his son spend their days mining pink rock salt from a local mine. They use hand-turned equipment and techniques that Anwaar’s family has passed down for generations.
When Colin Carter first approached Anwaar to buy his salt, Carter says he was met with cynicism. An Irish businessman was offering to purchase large amounts of salt, on a regular basis, and at a higher price than Anwaar could get on the local market, which is where he and his fellow villagers normally sold their product. It sounded at first like a scam. But Carter bought a container, built some trust, and has since bought several loads to supply The Real Co., the single-origin pantry staple company he founded in 2014. Read more
For the third year in a row, a bill that would have put warning labels on sodas and other sugary beverages sold in California will not be considered by the state Legislature this session. Senate Bill 203, the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, this week met the same fate it did in 2015, failing to move out of the Senate Health Committee despite widespread support among voters. Read more
A version of this post previously appeared on Modern Farmer.
Earlier this week the USDA reached out to Modern Farmer asking if Secretary Tom Vilsack, the only member of President Obama’s cabinet that has lasted through both terms in office, could give us a call. He wanted to plug the $17.6 million in grant money that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently made available for organic farming research, as well as a few other things he’s been working on to support the local food movement, or what the USDA often refers to as the “farm-identity preserved” market. But we got to chat about a few other things, too, like Vilsack’s recent trip to Cuba and his views on the GMO labeling debate. Read more
Update: On January 29, 2016, the FDA banned imports of GMO salmon until the agency can publish guidelines for how it should be labeled.
Late last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AquAdvantage salmon—the first edible genetically engineered animal to earn such an approval. The salmon, produced by AquaBounty Technologies, are genetically engineered (GE) with DNA that causes them to grow to market size much faster than other salmon. And while many advocates have shown concern over the fish in recent years, the FDA has declared it safe to eat.
The AquAdvantage salmon will only be raised in contained, inland facilities in Panama, from eggs produced in Canada. Once harvested, they will be imported for sale in the U.S. But exactly when they could show up on store shelves remains uncertain. “It is too early to discuss commercialization plans, but there are several paths to market that are being considered,” AquaBounty spokesperson Dave Conley told Civil Eats. Read more
The debate being waged over whether or not to label genetically engineered (GMO) foods is an especially contentious one. On the floor of Congress, in the news media, in the halls of academia, and on social media sites, pundits on both sides are weighing in, taking pot shots, and resorting to a range of tactics to support their arguments.
The fight has become especially heated since late July, when the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599—known by its proponents as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, and by its opponents as the “DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act”—which would block GMO labeling at the federal level. Read more
By all accounts, Americans want a more transparent food system. Recent polling suggests the majority of Americans favor labeling that tells them exactly how and where their food is produced. And yet, several bills are currently moving through Congress that could make it much harder to learn about the source of our food. Read more
When you buy a pound of hamburger in the grocery store, you’re likely to be bombarded by an incredible assortment of labels. With all-natural, grass-fed, free-range, pastured, sustainably sourced, and certified organic options to choose from, it’s not easy to parse which beef is actually the best. Read more
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told food manufacturers to stop using partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the major source of artificial trans fats in processed foods ranging from nondairy creamers, to baked goods, margarine, and microwave popcorn. The move, the FDA said, “is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.” Read more
International trade agreements may seem like a long way from what you’re making for dinner. But the two agreements on the table this spring–the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—could have a profound impact on the food we eat.
The agreements have been negotiated behind closed doors and could be submitted to Congress soon. In the case of the TPP, it could even happen this week. If Congress approves what’s called “fast-track” authority, the agreements would have to be voted on as is–without any changes. And just this morning, Reuters reported that the U.S. lost its appeal to the WTO for repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for meat.
Civil Eats spoke to experts to find out what consumers need to know about these agreements. Read more