Media/News Archive

Victory!! Pesticide Contamination Prohibited from Organic Production

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Center for Food Safety

Source: Montgomery Cty
Division of Solid Waste Service

Nonprofits laud decision upholding organic integrity as federal court closes pesticides loophole

Synthetic pesticides are once again prohibited in compost used for organic production, thanks to a federal court in the Northern District of California. The court issued a decision in litigation brought by several nonprofits challenging the United States Department of Agriculture’s allowance of pesticide contamination in compost used in organic food production. Center for Food Safety, Center for Environmental Health and Beyond Pesticides filed the case in April 2015, arguing that USDA had unlawfully changed organic regulations to create a new pesticide loophole without first undertaking a formal rulemaking and allowing the public to participate in any such decision. Yesterday, Judge Corley of the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of California agreed, ruling that USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) violated the law when it issued what it called a “guidance” that weakened the long-standing prohibition on synthetic pesticides in organic compost, and striking it down. Read Full Article »

Organic Seed is Gaining Ground but Lags Behind Broader Growth in Organic Industry

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Organic Seed Alliance
Farmer contacts for media:
Richard Moyer, Moyer Family Farm, Castlewood, Virginia
Dale Coke, Coke Farm, Aromas, California
Jim McGreevy, Cloudview EcoFarms, Royal City, Washington

Source: Thiago Locks

Organic Seed Alliance releases first five-year progress report on organic seed

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) released its first five-year update today on the status of organic seed. The report, State of Organic Seed, 2016, is part of an ongoing project to measure progress in increasing farmer access to organic seed in the US.

Organic farmers produce food differently, and that means they need different seed for the crops they grow: seed developed to thrive without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and adapted to their local climate and soil conditions. Read Full Article »

Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law: DuPont, Syngenta Fight Disclosure of Internal Studies

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Brattleboro Reformer
by Robert Audette

Source: Michael Galkovsky

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office is asking a federal judge to force Syngenta Corporation and Dupont to turn over internal studies relating to the safety of genetically modified organisms.

The state is asking the manufacturers of genetically engineered seeds — such as DuPont, Syngenta, Dow, Monsanto and Bayer — to turn over any studies conducted into the health and environmental impacts of those products and the producers of foods containing GE ingredients — such as Frito-Lay, Kellog’s and ConAgra — to release consumer surveys to see if these companies know what their consumers think when they see the word “natural.”

In May 2014, the Vermont Legislature enacted Act 120, which requires the labeling of foods produced or partially produced with genetic engineering or containing genetically modified ingredients and prohibits the labeling of such foods as “natural.”

In response to the state’s request for the documents, Syngenta and Dupont claim the state’s motions are untimely; the documents sought are irrelevant to the underlying litigation; and it is too burdensome to look for the documents. Read Full Article »

A Rush of Americans, Seeking Gold in Cuban Soil

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

New York Times
by Kim Severson

Source: David Williams

HAVANA — Being an agricultural official in Cuba these days is like living in a resort town all your friends want to visit. You rarely get a moment to yourself.

For months, Havana’s government offices and its prettiest urban farms have been filled with American bureaucrats, seed sellers, food company executives and farmers who spend their evenings eating meals made with ingredients often imported or smuggled into restaurants that most Cubans can’t afford.

They seek the prizes that are likely to come if the United States ends its trade restrictions against Cuba: a new supply of sugar, coffee and tropical produce, and a new market for American exports that could reap more than $1.2 billion a year in sales, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce. Read Full Article »

Who Invented the Cherry Tomato?

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Gastropod
by Anna Wexler
Listen to this podcast here.

Source: BarbBarbBarb

In the 1960s, cherry tomatoes were nearly impossible to find in the grocery store. By the 1990s, it was hard to get a salad without them. Somehow, within a couple of decades, the tiny tomatoes had taken over. Where did they come from? And who lay behind their sudden rise to glory?

A few years ago, Anna Wexler, a freelance science writer based in Israel, was waiting to board a flight out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport when her eye was caught by a pamphlet titled “Explaining Israel.” Available in both Hebrew and English, the brochure was designed to provide Israelis with positive talking points to boost the country’s reputation overseas. Alongside tips on how to engage listeners (humor and concision were advised), the government encouraged its citizens to discuss the country’s technological prowess by providing a handy list of Israeli inventions. There, alongside drip irrigation and the Epilady (a torturous hair removal device), was the cherry tomato.

Wexler knew that tomatoes originated in the Americas (in fact, the tomato’s wild ancestors hail from Peru and Ecuador), and she wondered whether Israel’s claims could be true. Read Full Article »