On a related note, Eric Schlosser, award-winning journalist and author of Fast Food Nation, told us in an interview last fall that the food labor issue he is most discouraged about is the exploitation of meatpacking workers, having seen “no improvement whatsoever” since his book came out in 2001.
This Stings: Winter Death Rate for America’s Bees Jumps (Associated Press)
After two years of improvement, a new federal survey released Tuesday showed that America’s winter honeybee colony loss rate was 28 percent, up from 22 percent. What might be more alarming, said University of Maryland bee scientist and survey leader Dennis vanEngelsdorp, is that as many bees are now dying in the summer as are dying in winter. IN 2015-2016, the overall colony loss rate was 44 percent, which is also up from the previous two years, though scientists only started surveying summer deaths in 2010. Scientists say worsening varroa mites might be behind the losses, but that’s just one of several problems scientists have blamed for declining bee populations including pesticides, disease, and poor nutrition and food supply.
Bayer Said to Explore Bid for $40 Billion Seed Company Monsanto (Bloomberg)
German firm Bayer AG has reportedly held preliminary discussions internally and with advisers about buying Monsanto Co., which has a market value of about $43 billion. Part of an unprecedented wave of consolidation in the crop-chemicals industry, the deal would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and farm chemicals, and would bring together brands such as Roundup and Sivanto, as well as seeds for crops ranging from corn to sugar cane. A deal with Bayer would help Monsanto—currently grappling with a global slump in agricultural commodities—reduce its reliance on the agriculture industry, while Monsanto would strengthen Bayer’s seed business, which is one of the company’s priorities.
Pepsi, Frito-Lay Quietly Adding GMO Ingredient Labels To Some Foods (Consumerist)
Vermont’s GMO labeling law goes into effect on the first of July, and while some companies—including Mars, Campbell Soup, and General Mills—have announced decisions to add such labels nationwide, other companies are quietly adding them to their products. PepsiCo’s beverages and snack foods are now carrying a notice that says, “Partially Produced With Genetic Engineering.” A customer service representative at Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, told Consumers Union that the company plans to label products nationwide, and that the “partial” terminology can be used on any product that uses less than 75 percent of ingredients from GMO sources.