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  • Time to end the fight over GMO labeling | Time to end the fight over GMO labeling

    Once again, the debate over labeling foods commonly called “GMO” has reached a fevered pitch. Some states continue to attempt to pass (or have already passed) local labeling laws.   At the Federal level legislation has been introduced that would label one GMO product – salmon - but not others, while a new legislative attempt to prohibit any labeling of GMOs until and unless the Federal government agrees to a uniform, nationwide labeling law has failed.  Much of the confusion stems from a widespread and basic misunderstanding of both the historic purpose of food labels and of modern GMO technology. Federal food labels have a clear and focused purpose: to provide nutritional and safety information to consumers. This includes things that can be measured – calories, fats, vitamins, mineral content, potential allergens – and methods of preparation that can impact these measurable ingredients. A second role of government in labeling is to ensure truth in advertising. Labels identifying products as Organic, Kosher, or Halal, fall into the second category: industry developed, but overseen by government agencies to ensure truthfulness and accuracy. So how would a GMO label fit in this regulatory scheme?

    First and foremost, "GMO" is not an ingredient. "It" is not in your food. It is a process by which some hybrids are developed, for the same reasons traditional crops or animals are cross-bred: to improve a desired quality, be it taste, nutrition, resistance to disease or improved economics of growth. But it is more exact, faster and more flexible. So if GMOs are labeled by government statute, several problems are created.

    Post date: Thu, 05/26/2016 - 11:45
  • Judge orders Idaho to pay PETA | Meat + Poultry

    A district court judge ordered Idaho to pay $249,875.08 in attorneys’ fees to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal welfare groups that successfully challenged the state’s law prohibiting undercover filming at agricultural operations.

    Post date: Thu, 05/26/2016 - 11:41
  • Why This Power Company Is Making Energy From Pig Poo | Fortune

    Power giant Duke Energy announced plans on Tuesday to buy gas generated by the waste from pigs on farms in North Carolina. The company will use the gas, made of methane, to generate electricity at two power stations.

    Post date: Thu, 05/26/2016 - 11:39
  • Cargill juggles customer’s GMO food preferences | Financial Times

    Changing customer preferences have big impact for world’s largest commodities trader.  The world’s biggest agricultural commodities trader is taking steps to “de-commoditise”. That was the term invoked by a Cargill senior executive as he described how shifting food preferences were changing the Minneapolis-based company.  The term was jarring because Cargill for a century and a half has been known as a quintessential commodity merchant, handling rivers of grain, oilseeds, sugar and other foodstuffs.  But as a growing bloc of consumers demand "natural food" which lacks certain traits such as bioengineered genes, or food grown according to certain social or environmental standards, Cargill has tweaked aspects of its bulk supply chain.

    The company created a GMO free corn syrup in response to changes at a confectionery customer, its annual report said. Marcel Smits, Cargill’s chief financial officer, explained in New York last week that to do so Cargill dedicated one plant to make it, representing 10 per cent of its volume in the sweetener. He also cited customer demand for yoghurt that was non-GMO, which reaches into the supply of grain used for cow feed.

    Post date: Thu, 05/26/2016 - 11:38
  • Five countries agree to share FMD vaccines | Watt Ag Net

    The U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia have signed an agreement to share foot-and-mouth disease vaccines, should an outbreak occur.

    Post date: Thu, 05/26/2016 - 11:36

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Gleanings

Farm

Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices. 

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