Food News You Can Use

November 29, 2011

  • Tom Philpott Exposes Sara Lee Marketing Professionals’ Attempt to Put Lipstick on Pigs: (Mother Jones, 11/28)
  • Rep. Pingree (D-ME) Questions the FDA’s Commitment of Scarce Resources to Small Farm Raids: Read her 11/18 letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, posted by Local Food, Local Rules, here.
  • Fair Trade USA Drops Commitment to Small Coffee Farmers: According to the New York Times (11/23), the group said it would “make far-reaching changes in the sorts of products that get its seal of approval. The changes include giving the fair trade designation to coffee from large plantations, which were previously barred in favor of small farms.”
  • “Research Proves Equal Yields, Higher Profits from Organic Farming”: According to Fresh Plaza (11/21), “Organic crop systems can provide similar yields and much higher economic returns than a conventional corn-soybean rotation, according to thirteen years of data from a side-by-side comparison at Iowa State University’s Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm.” As Barbara Damrosch writes for the Washington Post, other studies have offered similar results, including, perhaps most persuasively, the World Bank’s “International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development.”
  • “Bayer’s Top-Selling Pesticides Continue to Cause Bee Deaths Worldwide”: According to the Pesticide Action Network, “The worrisome deaths of bee populations worldwide is likely to continue as the German agrochemical company Bayer remains unrestricted in its manufacture and sale of neonicotinoid pesticides.” Bayer is one of six multinational agrochemical corporations about to be tried for various human rights violations in an international opinion tribunal, the Permanent People’s Tribunal Session on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations, from December 3 to 6, 2011.
  • “Dizzying Surge in Rural Land Prices Accelerating a Fundamental Reshaping of the Farm Sector”: Reuters reports (11/21) that, “instead of digging in to benefit from the boom in grain prices, the next generation is opting to cash out of the small, family-owned farms that harbor centuries of rural wisdom and deep tradition.”
  • State Department Claims Biotech Labeling Would Scare Consumers: According to the Des Moines Register (10/12), “The Obama administration shows no sign of changing the government’s position on labeling of biotech foods despite a renewed effort by consumer advocacy groups and environmental organizations require manufacturers to disclose the use of genetically engineered ingredients. Jose Fernandez, the State Department’s assistant secretary for economic, energy and business affairs, said today that such labeling would scare consumers away from those foods.”

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