Archived Posts

News Flash: May 7, 2015

INDUSTRY

GMA et al lose bid to ‘stop the clock’ on Vermont GMO labeling law until lawsuit is resolved

Last week, Chief Judge Christina Reiss, U.S. District Court, overruled unfavorable opinions concerning the GMO-labeling law in the state of Vermont. Chief Judge Ross held that the rule of Vermont’s mandatory labeling law will likely rule under the first amendment, causing a major setback for food industry groups opposing mandatory labeling. Food Navigator

Being anti-GMO may have ‘intuitive appeal’

A team of Belgium scientists and plant scientists have researched the cognitive reasons for why anti-GMO attitudes remain strong, while evidence increases showing no health or environmental risks. GMO’s are also shown to possibly benefit local farmers. The team of researchers wanted to find the gap between scientific evidence and public opinion and found that many concerns must be addressed on a case-by-case basis, although they tend to be unrelated to technology. Most consumers are not predisposed to understanding complex technologies, so intuition tends to override. This intuition centers on the idea of natural organisms that should not be changed or tampered with by scientists. Food Navigator

Is organic food safer and healthier? The guy in charge of U.S. organics won’t say.

In an interview on Wednesday, Miles McEvoy, chief of the National Organic Program at USDA, wouldn’t speculate about any health benefits of organic food. McEvoy replied to the question stating that it was not “relevant” to the role of the National Organic Program. McEvoy also was not willing to say whether the growing consumer demand for organics reflects the growing skepticism of the public’s view of conventional U.S. agriculture. McEvoy did report to dramatic increases in organic sales, with over double-digit growth each year, with increases in every sector of organic food. Organics account for about 5-percent of U.S. food sales and over 12-percent of fruits and vegetables are currently organic. McEvoy also commented on topics including animal treatment and the trustworthiness of organic food imports from China and other countries. Washington Post

 

BIOFUEL

Biofuel policy delays lead to $13.7B investment ‘shortfall’

According to an industry group, the Obama administration delays in setting ethanol and biodiesel blending mandates have cause $13.7 billon “shortfall” in investments. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) attributes this shortfall to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for delaying the annual regulations. The annual regulations are intended to communicate with gasoline and diesel refiners to tell them how much biofuel to put into their fuels. BIO has reported to other complaints including industry delays in making certain fuels widely available and the loss of 80,000 direct jobs. EPA has pledged to set the blending mandates for November 30th of this year. The Hill

 

CANOLA

How British Farmers Are Making Rapeseed (Canola) Posh And Flavorful

Canola or rapeseed is known as a cooking oil in North America. The version most consumers know is a pale, neutral-flavored oil commonly used for frying or baking. A more colorful and flavorful version is now available on store shelves in the U.K., cold-pressed rapeseed, sold for £5-7 per 500 milliliters (about $9-12 for 17 fluid ounces). This vibrant, mustard-colored oil takes on a variety of names including Sussex Gold, Summer Harvest, and Farrington’s Mellow Yellow. Other products use descriptions such as “extra virgin” or are even infused with white truffle. Chefs have embraced this oil, known as the “national” oil, since it is grown, processed, and marketed by British farmers. NPR

 

CORN

EDITORIAL: Gov. Scott Walker’s evolving views on corn-based ethanol

Governor Scott Walker shifted his position on the federal ethanol mandate in March by telling an Iowa audience that he would support the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. The program requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a certain amount of renewable fuel, usually ethanol from corn. Skeptics point out the expenses related to ethanol, along with its potential effect on the food supply. The ethanol mandate aimed to reduce American reliance on import of oil and centered on ethanol as a more environmentally friendly option that would be helpful to corn producers in the Midwest. Journal Sentinel

 

PALM

Indonesia plans to impose export levy for palm oil exporters

The Indonesian government announced its plan to introduce export levies for palm oil exporters, to be used for funding its biodiesel program. The funding will also be used for replanting and research programs in local plantations. Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, of Plantation Industries and Commodities, reported to palm oil exporters levies at $50 U.S. dollars per tonne for crude palm oil shipments and $30 U.S. dollars for processed palm oil products. Uggah reports to continued monitoring to analyze possible impacts of the levy on the Malaysian palm oil industry. The Star

 

SOYBEAN

Low-allergen soybean could have high impact

Soybeans are one of the eight foods regulated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALPA) as a major ingredient in infant formulas, processed foods, and livestock feeds. Soybeans contain several allergens that may affect soybean use as food and feed. University of Arizona scientists have yielded a new soybean with reduced levels of the three key proteins responsible for these allergies, described in a paper published online in the journal of Plant Breeding. Eurekalert