Archived Posts

News Flash: August 27, 2015


The FDA is making a big change to nutrition labels. And it’s probably a big mistake.

The good news is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is poised to make the Nutrition Facts label (pdf) on many packaged foods significantly more honest. The bad news is that this well-intentioned fix could seriously backfire. As part of a label overhaul, which the FDA announced last year, the agency is planning to update the serving sizes to better reflect the amount of food people actually consume. The proposed tweak, which is almost through its months-long comment period and is expected to begin to take effect next year, would affect packaged foods for which serving sizes are seen as too low (just under 20 percent of all packaged foods), including popular items like ice cream, potato chips and soda. Washington Post

GM trials: Sharad Pawar tells PM Modi to scrap rule Jairam brought

Reopening the debate on genetically modified (GM) crops, former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do away with a rule introduced by his former cabinet colleague, Jairam Ramesh, with regard to field trials of such crops. Ramesh, then environment minister, had made it mandatory for developers of GM varieties to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the concerned state government before going ahead with field trials. Indian Express


Palm oil waste to generate power

Renewable energy provider Agni Power Sdn Bhd has allocated RM150 million to build a biomass energy power station using empty oil palm fruit bunches (EFB) here. Director Admi Othman said the power station, to be developed on 8ha in Jalan Gugusan Bera, is expected to be completed in two years under the supervision of the main contractor Emrail Sdn Bhd. “The 10MW capacity produced will be channelled to the distribution system of Tenaga Nasional Bhd here under a renewable energy power purchase agreement for 16 years. “Bera is an appropriate selection as we have a contract with Felda to supply 850 tonnes of EFB daily to five factories located between 15km and 35km from the power station.” The Rakyat Post


Canola-fed sheep produce meat rich with omega-3 fatty acids, University of Tasmania scientists find

The scientists fed a group of sheep pellets laced with 5 per cent polyunsaturated oils like rice bran and canola oil. They found the oils transferred into the meat, infusing it with omega-3 fatty acids and reducing saturated fats. University of Tasmania associate professor Aduli Malau-Aduli said the 10-year study was aimed at improving the nutritional quality of meat. “We wanted to see if we can help farmers produce sheep meat that has levels of omega-3 that will actually reach source levels or even better in their meat,” he said. ABC


Existing crop models can forecast corn yields, even in El Nino events

A study led by Indiana State Climatologist Dev Niyogi of Purdue University has determined that existing crop models can reliably forecast corn yields during times of climate variability, specifically the El Niño and La Niña systems that influence temperature and precipitation. Knowing what kind of yield to expect even in uncertain growing conditions should help climatologists, farmers, agricultural planners and public policymakers more effectively manage the global food supply, Niyogi said. Farm Futures


Malaysia says cooperating with Indonesia Palm Oil industry 

Malaysia said it agreed with Indonesia to improve cooperation in the palm oil industry given the grim global economic environment that has stoked worries about demand and pushed down prices. Benchmark Malaysian palm prices slumped to a 6-1/2 year low of 1,863 ringgit (S$620.36) a tonne this week amid a drop in financial markets that was led by a brutal selloff in equities in China, one of the world’s top palm oil consumers. Palm prices have shed 15 percent this year. Business Times


U.S. Soybeans Revive as Global Economic Worries Lessen; Grains Edge Up

U.S. soybean futures rebounded Tuesday amid weaker-than-expected U.S. crop conditions and a recovery in global markets. Meanwhile, grains traded slightly higher. Soybean prices advanced after falling to a six-year low in the previous session as global markets surged despite another sharp drop in Chinese shares. Analysts said a reversal in U.S. stocks helped boost commodity prices a day after fears of an economic slowdown in China prompted a widespread selloff, pressuring prices for agricultural goods sold to China, especially soybeans. China is the world’s largest soybean importer, and investors Monday feared the top buyer of U.S. oilseeds could reduce purchases. NASDAQ