Archived Posts

News Flash: April 30, 2015

INDUSTRY

GM crops to fight spina bifida

There may be other applications of engineered plants, besides herbicide tolerance and insect resistance, which incorporate specific nutrients. The International Journal of Biotechnology published research suggesting that the bio-fortification of rice with a gene to produce more folate (vitamin B9) could reduce the risk of birth defects, including spina bifida and other neural tube defect conditions. These deficiencies are caused by insufficiencies of this nutrient. Various crop plants are now being developed with enrichments in iron, zinc, vitamin A, and other nutrients. SeedQuest

BIOFUEL

Parliament supports shift towards advanced biofuels

A law was drafted and voted on by Parliament on Tuesday to cap crop-derived biofuel production and accelerate the shift to alternative sources. The draft law aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by increasing the use of farm land for biofuel crops. Lead MEP, Nils Torvalds questioned if the law would be enough to meet their high goals in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and technological progress. The current EU legislation requires EU member states to ensure renewable energy accounts for at least 10% of energy consumption in transport by 2020. The article lists further details of the new law. European Parliament News

ND farmers planting oil seed for jet fuel

Western North Dakota farmers have agreed to plant 6,000 acres of crop this year that can be turned into jet fuel. The farmers will plant carinata, a mustard seed variety. Carinata looks similar to canola oilseed, but is a little bushier. Canadian seed producer, Agrisoma Biosciences, searched for farmers willing to plant this crop over the winter. Producer spokesman Garret Groves said producers were not hesitant to sign-up and even exceeded the 4,000 acre goal. Carinata will be grown in fields near Mott, Carson, Tioga, Ray, Williston, Noonan and Flasher.

Capital Journal

CANOLA

Growers say canola production down in South Australia due to GM moratorium

Grain producers in South Australia worry about canola production decline if they are unable to plant genetically modified varieties. Darren Arney, CEO of Grain Producers South Australia, reports to low prices and high production costs leading to a large reduction in the amount of canola being planted in the state this year. According to Arney, South Australian growers are in competition with Canada and other Australian states growing GM varieties. Arney believes it will continue to be an uphill battle if they continue to be unable to grow GM crops. ABC

CORN

Chipotle to Stop Using Genetically Altered Ingredients

The first major restaurant chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill, has announced on Monday that it will prepare its food free of genetically modified ingredients. Grocers and big food companies are also moving towards offering more products free of genetically altered ingredients. Chipotle’s announcement does not mean the restaurant will be entirely GMO-free. The company realizes it sells soft drinks likely to contain sweeteners from GMO corn, GMO fed animals producing its meat, cornstarch, and commodities such as canola, soy oils, corn meal and sugar. New York Times

PALM

Ethiopia: Government Re-Thinking Ban On Private Palm Oil Imports

The government is currently reconsidering its ban on private companies importing palm oil, which has been active since May of 2011. The embargo began after the government was unable to control the edible oil market with a price cap which had been introduced on a total of 18 items. Over the past two weeks, the Ministry of Trade (MoT) has been considering returning private businesses into the importation of oil, although the idea has always been in the pipeline, according to state minister for MoT, Ali Siraj. The economic impacts are now being considered and MoT’s first study will be shared with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) and the Council of Ministers before future decisions are made. All Africa

SOYBEAN

Seventeen trait approvals cap wild week for biotech in Brussels

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomes Brussel’s approval of seventeen biotechnology traits for import, while expressing frustration with the European Commission’s proposal allowing EU member states to opt out of importing food and feed biotechnology traits earlier this week. The traits, include the Plenish and Vistive Gold high-oleic soybean varieties, and dicamba-tolerant and omega-3 soybeans, and have been in the EU approval process for years. “On the one hand, we’re happy to see these traits finally receive Commission approval after years of delay. The 17 products approved by the European Commission today have been pending for 69 months on average despite EU laws and regulations that foresee an 18-month time period for a decision,” says ASA’s first Vice President, and soybean farmer in Delaware, Richard Wilkins. SeedQuest

Global soybean stakeholders monetize biotech-approval delays – U.S. soy family partners with China, South America to examine implications of trait postponements

A new white paper shows that postponing the global approval of biotech-enhanced soybean traits for three years, anytime in the next ten years, would be costly, in comparison to typical approval timelines. The delay could cost both farmers and consumers almost 19-billion dollars. This research was released during the International Soybean Growers Alliance (ISGA) mission. Farming leaders from the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay met with Chinese governmental officials and influencers to discuss issues the delays may cause for both global producers, as well as soy consumers. SeedQuest