All the News That's Fit to Eat: Banned Apples, Farmed Salmon, and Food Waste Successes | Civil Eats

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Banned Apples, Farmed Salmon, and Food Waste Successes

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)

In the biggest news item of the week, Vermont passed a GMO labeling bill that would be the first to go into effect by July 1, 2016. As we reported last week, the bills passed recently in Maine and Connecticut both include a “trigger clause” meaning that other states around them must pass similar bills before they go into effect. Vermont lawmakers are so sure they will be sued by the food industry that they have also created a legal liability fund, and “as much as $1.5 million in settlements collected by Vermont’s attorney general could go into the fund each year.”

2. Why American Apples Just Got Banned in Europe (Mother Jones)

Apples grown with diphenylamine, or DPA—a common chemical that prevents brown spots from cold storage—have actually been banned in the European Union (EU) since 2012. But the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report this week alerting consumers to the fact that the EU recently lowered its tolerable levels of the chemical, meaning conventionally grown apples from the U.S. are even less likely to be sold there. DPA has the potential to break down into a family of carcinogens called nitrosamines. And the last time anyone checked, it was on 80 percent of the samples tested, at about four times the new European limit. In other words, says Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott, “the apple on your counter top would likely be deemed unsafe by European authorities.” It’s no coincidence that apples have ranked at the top of EWG’s Dirty Dozen list for the last decade.

3. Fresno ranks No. 1 on California Pollution List (LA Times)

Maps released this week by the California Environmental Protection Agency show that eight of the state’s 10 census tracts most heavily burdened by pollution are in the state’s Central Valley. The reason? Not only is this part of the state in the 90th percentile for pesticide applications, it’s also home to several highly-polluting meat rendering plants.

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

4. The Economic and Environmental Costs of Wasted Food (New York Times)

While we haven’t made much progress in reducing food waste here in the U.S., there are several inspiring examples abroad. Britain has cut food waste by 21 percent since 2007, thanks to campaigns like Love Food, Hate Waste and work by large retailers to offer less-wasteful options, such as “lettuce in bags with two compartments, so that consumers can use one half while the other stays fresh.” And in China, a new anti-food waste law is on the table and restaurant diners are sharing photos of their empty plates on social media. In South Korea, the government aims to cut food waste by 20 percent, by charging for garbage disposal by weight. Meanwhile, the European Union hopes to cut food waste in half by 2020.

5. Is It Time to Reconsider Farmed Salmon? (TakePart)

“For more than a decade, the fish has been the poster child for what ails aquaculture,” writes Clare Leschin-Hoar about farmed salmon. But, she adds, years of collective skepticism may just be leading fish farmers to try harder to reach sustainable foodies. For instance, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council for responsible stewardship just approved its first farmed salmon, and some scientists are working on creating an eco-systems approach to farming this popular fish, as well. Even Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish, and a critic of some farmed salmon systems in the past, appears to be interested in a more nuanced conversation about this much-maligned food. “We know it really well, so to abandon it as a farmed animal seems like it’s a mistake,” he told Leschin-Hoar.

Thank you for being a loyal reader.

We rely on you. Become a member today to read unlimited stories.


Since 2009, the Civil Eats editorial team has published award-winning and groundbreaking news and commentary about the American food system, and worked to make complicated, underreported stories—on climate change, the environment, social justice, animal welfare, policy, health, nutrition, and the farm bill— more accessible to a mainstream audience. Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

More from

News Bites


hickens gather around a feeder at a farm on August 9, 2014 in Osage, Iowa. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

What Happened to Antibiotic-Free Chicken?

With the biggest poultry company in the country backtracking and other commitments to raising healthier birds unmet, the future is rockier than it once seemed.


Nik Sharma Offers His Top Tips for Home Cooks to Fight Recipe Fatigue

Nik Sharma baking at left, and tossing a chickpea dish at right. (Photo credit: Nik Sharma)

Far From Home, the Curry Leaf Tree Thrives

Zee Lilani of Kula Nursery stands among her curry leaf tree starts in Oakland, California. (Photo credit: Melati Citrawireja)

A Guide to Climate-Conscious Grocery Shopping

Changing How We Farm Might Protect Wild Mammals—and Fight Climate Change

A red fox in a Connecticut farm field. (Photo credit: Robert Winkler, Getty Images)