Archived Posts

News Flash: September 24, 2015


China’s FDA is Busy Proposing, Finalizing Food Safety Regulatory Rules
Working at lightning speed compared to their U.S. counterparts, officials with the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) have reportedly issued several proposed rules and finalized three, and it’s only been about four months since revisions to the country’s Food Safety Law were adopted. These revisions become effective Oct. 1, 2015.The responsibility for regulating food safety in China has been assigned to different agencies over the years, according to recent reports, but it has mainly resided within CFDA since the spring of 2013. Food Safety News

Lawmakers to hold hearing on genetically modified food bill
State lawmakers are planning to hear from the public this week on a bill that would require that all foods sold in Massachusetts containing genetically engineered ingredients be clearly labeled. Supporters say they’ve already won the backing of more than 150 of the state’s 200 lawmakers. A coalition supporting the measure, including MASSPIRG, is planning to hold a press conference on Boston Common before Tuesday’s hearing. Boston Herald

GM crop-growing banned in Northern Ireland
Stormont’s environment minister has banned the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops in Northern Ireland. Mark H Durkan said he was “unconvinced of the advantages”, and his decision would hold for the “foreseeable future”. The European Union said earlier this year that its 28 member states could adopt their own positions on the issue. Each regional assembly within the UK is making its own decision. While no GM crops are being grown commercially in the UK, imported GM commodities, especially soya, are being used mainly for animal feed, and to a lesser extent in some food products. BBC News


Why airplanes could soon be flying on seeds
In 2012 – almost 100 years since the Wright brothers made history – another historic flight took place when the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) flew what it described as, “The first civil jet powered by unblended biofuel.” The biofuel used came from what the NRC described as oilseed crops that had been commercialized by Canada’s Agrisoma Biosciences. Speaking to CNBC’s Sustainable Energy about the fuel produced from Agrisoma’s oilseed crops, Steve Fabijanski, CEO of Agrisoma, said it was unique and behaved, “identically to petroleum.” CNBC


Study: New Higher Protein Canola Meal Can Be Included in Pig Diets
Canola meal is high in protein and can be used as an alternative to soybean meal in livestock diets. In recent years, canola meal varieties with even greater protein content have been developed. However, canola meal contains anti-nutritional factors, and it is not known how much can be included in diets fed to pigs. New research from the University of Illinois provides insight into how much conventional and high-protein canola meal can be included in swine diets. AG Web


Dominant Dollar Means Bin-Busting Corn Crop Stays at Home
As the world’s livestock herds and ethanol plants prepare to consume more corn than farmers can grow over the next year, there’s still more than enough of the grain to go around. Global inventories were at a 27-year high after two straight seasons of record harvests. Exports by the U.S., the biggest producer, are running 28 percent behind last year’s pace as a stronger dollar entices buyers to go elsewhere for cheaper supply. And while global reserves are forecast to shrink for the first time in five years with smaller crops in the U.S. and Europe, a measure of inventories relative to usage still remains near the highest in 13 years. AG Web


Major Indonesian palm oil producer commits to strong forest protection policy
One of Indonesia’s biggest palm oil producers, a company called Astra Agro Lestari, yesterday announced a new commitment to stopping deforestation and preventing agricultural burning throughout its supply chain. Earlier this year, the environmental group Forest Heroes used a drone camera to document clear-cutting that was happening on land managed by Astra Agro Lestari. Indonesia has had a high rate of rainforest loss in the past decade, as trees are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations and other export crops. The video went viral, prompting an outcry from around the world, as this deforestation not only threatens endangered species but also contributes to global climate change. Tree Hugger

Indonesia acts against timber, palm oil firms over haze
Indonesia has revoked the licence of a timber supplier and suspended the operations of three palm oil plantation operators over fires that have blanketed Southeast Asia in haze, an official said Tuesday. The fires, mostly started to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations on Sumatra and Borneo islands, are an annual occurrence. But President Joko Widodo has insisted this year that law-breakers will be punished. The environment ministry on Monday decided to revoke the licence of Indonesian wood supplier Hutani Sola Lestari, based on the western island of Sumatra which is at the centre of the haze outbreak, ministry spokesman Eka W. Sugiri told AFP. Yahoo News


Farmers can order Xtend soybeans; China approval still pending
Canadian growers will be able to order Monsanto soybean varieties with Xtend technology this fall, even though China hasn’t approved the soybean trait. Monsanto said China’s regulatory agency is scheduled to decide on Roundup Ready2 Xtend soybeans in November. The genetically modified technology allows soybean plants to tolerate applications of glyphosate and dicamba. “We’ve submitted everything and continue to have interaction (with Chinese regulators) and answer any questions that they have,” said Monsanto Canada spokesperson Trish Jordan. The Western Producer

Industry board aims to ensure US soy remains competitive
The US soy sector’s new strategy aims at encouraging growers to increase the value of soybean meal and ensuring livestock industry recognition of soy’s “superiority” over other feedstuffs. The United Soybean Board (USB) said the overall goal of its plan for the sector from 2017 through 2022 is to maximize profit and opportunities for soybean farmers amid an increasingly competitive animal feed landscape. Feed Navigator