Archived Posts

News Flash: June 25, 2015


State Legislatures Pass on Adopting GMO-Labeling Policies This Year

The legislative concerning laws requiring the labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) appears to be ending without another state willing to join Vermont in the requirement. The fact that GMO-labeling bills were introduced but mostly failed to go forward will likely allow Congress more time to work on the issue before the food industry is confronted with a number of state, territorial, and federal labeling rules. Food Safety News


Once shunned for oil, ethanol makes a return to U.S. rails

A revival of ethanol hauling in the U.S. rail network has been spurred by sinking lease rates, weak crude prices, and tough new safety measures for oil transportation by rail. This trend, emerging in the past six months, marks a shift in the transportation boom of transporting crude oil by rail towards ethanol transportation. Some rail car owners are now cleaning out oil-carrying tank cars to carry corn-based ethanol. It is still unclear whether this shift will be a short or long-term shift. Reuters


GM canola ban talk ‘reckless’

Managing director Daniel Kruithoff said Labor would set the WA grains industry back 15 years if it won the next election and implemented a policy to stop the growing of GM canola. Kruithoff also pointed out propositions used to reinforce their position around the safety of GM and the recklessness of the statements which fail to take evidence of GM crop safety into consideration. Monsanto supports a move by Agriculture Minister Ken Baston to repeal the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act before the next election. Under the Act, the State Government must grant an exemption to allow the planting of GM crops approved safe to use by Commonwealth authorities. The West Australian


Exclusive: Corn refiners declare war on sugar, conservative groups jump onboard

The Corn Refiners Association, representing companies that produce high-fructose corn syrup plans to invest efforts to “unwind the lucrative breaks afforded to sugar, which are among the most generous in U.S. agriculture”. The Association recently hired lobbyists for the federal sugar program, one year after a new farm bill was passed. The agriculture appropriations bill, which is now moving through a House committee, has been targeted by the group. Washington Post


US ban on transfat good for overall palm oil industry

The proposal by US to ban trans fat in its food supply is likely to have positive impacts for the palm oil industry. According to Bloomberg News, artificial trans fat will be removed from the US food supply over the next three years under a recent regulation that the products pose health risks that contribute to heart disease. Palm oil is viewed has a beneficiary due to its semi-solid consistency at room temperature which means it does not need to go through the hydrogenation process and is suitable for industrial use. “The ban of trans fat in regions like California and New York has already seen a gradual increase in demand for palm oil in the US in recent years,” the Maybank Investment Bank Bhd research team said. Palm oil demand is expected to increase by half a billion pounds a year due to this new proposal. The Borneo Post


Purdue University researchers identify gene that controls soybean seed permeability, calcium content

Researchers at Purdue University have identified the gene that controls whether soybean seed coats are hard or permeable. This finding could aid in developing better varieties for southern and tropical regions, enrich the crop’s genetic diversity and boost the nutritional value of soybeans. The gene is also associated with the calcium content of soybeans which allows for a genetic target to enhance the nutritional aspects of soybean products. “This is the first gene associated with hard seededness to be identified in any plant species,” Jianxin Ma, agronomy professor, said. “This discovery could help us quickly pinpoint genes that control this trait in many other plants. We’re also excited about the potential applications for modifying the calcium concentration in seed coats. This could be transformative as we identify similar genes that control calcium levels in other legumes.” SeedQuest