Media/News Archive

The GMO Fight Ripples Down the Food Chain

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Facing Consumer Pressure, More Firms Are Jettisoning GMOs From Their Foods

The Wall Street Journal
by Annie Gasparro

ben and jerrys logoTwo years ago, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. initiated a plan to eliminate genetically modified ingredients from its ice cream, an effort to address a nascent consumer backlash and to fulfill its own environmental goals.

This fall, nearly a year behind schedule, it expects to finish phase one, affecting its flavorful “chunks and swirls” like cookie dough and caramel. The only part left to convert: the milk that makes ice cream itself. Thanks to the complexities of sourcing milk deemed free of genetically modified material, that could take five to 10 more years.

“There’s a lot more that goes into it than people realize,” said Rob Michalak, Ben & Jerry’s director of social mission.

Two decades after the first genetically engineered seeds were sold commercially in the U.S., genetically modified organisms—the crops grown from such seeds—are the norm in the American diet, used to make ingredients in about 80% of packaged food, according to industry estimates. (Take a quiz about GMOs.) Read Full Article »

Food’s Big-Picture Guy

Monday, August 11th, 2014

The New York Times
by Mark Bittman

Olivier de Schutter
Image Credit: Heinrich Boll Stiftung

I wish Olivier de Schutter had the power to match the acuity of his analysis, but it’s great that we’ve had an advocate whose vision is as broad as that of the corporations who have for the last 50 years determined global food policy. Since 2008, the human rights lawyer has had the title of United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food. (His second three-year term ends this week.) This is obviously not a genius marketing title and, even worse, the position carries no real power.

Still, the notion of an impartial observer who can see trends as corporations do — across political borders, and agnostic to them — is a valuable one. It’s easy enough for individual Americans to see how our problems may resemble Canada’s; it’s much more difficult to imagine ourselves struggling the way Indonesians do. That’s what De Schutter has done: shown us that the issues with the food system are as global as trade. Read Full Article »

Legacy of DDT Still Poisoning Birds and People in Michigan

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Beyond Pesticides

lossy-page1-350px-SHOOT_TO_KILL_-_PROTECT_YOUR_VICTORY_GARDEN_-_NARA_-_515408.tif(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2014) Residents of St. Louis, Michigan aren’t used to seeing large excavators and dump trucks haul piles of dirt from their front yards or entire blocks of big, neighborhood trees felled. What they are used to seeing are dead birds —sometimes even spontaneous, mid-flight deaths of the birds— and because of a toxic series of events, disasters, and delays spanning decades, the two sights are inextricably connected.

As one St. Louis resident described to the Detroit Free Press, dozens of dead robins and blackbirds had been collected from her backyard in the 18 years she has lived there, with the most recent just a couple weeks ago. This experience and other similar stories from the area prompted researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) to start figuratively and literally digging. Read Full Article »

Another COOL Win

Friday, August 8th, 2014


Credit: James Carlson, USDA

Tyson, Cargill and the American Meat Institute (AMI) lost another bid to keep you from knowing the country-of-origin of the fresh beef, pork, lamb and poultry you buy from the grocery store. On July 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s authority to issue rules requiring country-of-origin labels (COOL) on meat and poultry products, and refused to block the rules.

“This court decision is a great win for consumers and independent farmers and ranchers who have pushed for labeling for over a decade,” said Mabel Dobbs, Chair of WORC’s Ag and Food Campaign Team. Read Full Article »

USDA Leaning Toward Approval of Monsanto’s New GMO Beans, Cotton

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

by Carey Gillam

usda-dollarsAug 6 (Reuters) – U.S. regulators on Tuesday said they are leaning toward approval of a new line of herbicide-tolerant crops developed by Monsanto Co even though they could increase problematic weed resistance for farmers.

Under the draft “environmental impact statement” (EIS) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the agency said its analysis shows the new genetically modified cotton and soybean plants should be approved.

St. Louis-based Monsanto, said the APHIS move was “a noteworthy sign of progress.” Read Full Article »