Even in the dog days of summer, the food news keeps coming. Here’s what caught our eye this week.
1. Missouri Approves “Right to Farm” Amendment By Narrow Margin, Recount Possible (New York Times)
The amendment, which provides large farms with protection against regulation of practices such as the use of genetically engineered seeds and animal confinement, passed with 50.1 percent of the vote or 2,528 votes (less than one-half of one percent). Read more
It’s summer, but that doesn’t mean food news stops. Below, we share some of the top news stories of the week.
1. USDA Overhauls Poultry Inspection Rules (The Hill)
After more than two years of proposals and push-back by advocates, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) moved to put new poultry inspection rules in place yesterday. The voluntary rules would result in companies providing their own inspectors (while keeping one from the USDA in every plant), making it essentially a move to privatize the inspections. It will also mean fewer inspectors per plants, with each inspector looking at 140 birds per minute. Read more
1. U.S. Court Upholds FDA Animal Feed Policy Despite Health Concern (Reuters)
Back in 2012, two district courts rules in favor of lawsuits brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a group of affiliated public health groups, saying the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had to act to address antibiotic overuse in livestock. It was an important win on paper because the federal agency has known about the dangers of unnecessary use of these drugs for growth promotion and disease prevention since the 1970s, but has hedged on passing regulations with any real teeth since then. Read more
Here are a few food news stories you might have missed this week:
1. Study Reveals Sizable Increase in Diabetes Among Children (New York Times)
In the eight years between 2001 to 2009, the rate of Type 1 diabetes increased 21 percent among children under 19, and Type 2 diabetes among those ages 10 to 19 rose 30 percent. Read more
It has been a busy week in food news; here’s what caught our attention:
1. Vermont to Enact GMO Food-Labeling Law (Wall Street Journal) Read more
1. Walmart’s New Line of Organic Food will Undercut Big Brands (New York Times)
The big news this week was the new partnership between Walmart and Wild Oats, the former natural grocery store chain, which is rolling out a line of inexpensive organic products. Walmart only plans to carry the company’s shelf-stable pantry items for now, but the move could make a splash with both consumers and farmers. Read more
We were sitting in a field of sweet corn in Minnesota in the late summer of 2013. A pile of 200 husked and partially eaten ears of that same corn sat at our feet. After tasting that many ears of sweet corn in one sitting, most people would swear off the traditional flavors of summer for good. But not the two of us: A couple of graduate students studying to become classical plant breeders. Along with our collaborators, we were particularly excited that day. Read more
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
As we were roasting sweet corn on our barbecue grills last summer, we wanted to know: Was this the same corn on the cob we’ve been eating all our lives or was it a new type of corn genetically engineered by Monsanto to contain an insecticide and resist weed killing chemicals? Read more