Media/News Archive

Egg Comes First in Fight Over What It Means to Be Organic

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

by Deena Shanker

An aerial photo from August 2014 shows
six hen houses, several with two floors,
and a seventh under construction at the
Green Meadow site in Saranac

Big Agriculture may see a broader threat in new government regulations. Congress comes to the rescue.

A decade-plus effort by organic farmers, animal welfare advocates, and consumer groups to guarantee humane treatment of farm animals in the burgeoning organic food industry could be derailed this week by a one-page rider slipped into a congressional appropriations bill.

The law would eliminate all funding for a stricter new regulation proposed by the Obama administration intended to guarantee that the organic-in-every-respect egg is, in fact, as advertised.

Even though it still makes up just a tiny fraction of the overall egg market, the growth in organic egg sales has been nothing short of explosive. From 2014 to 2015, when total egg sales in the U.S. were down 1.1 percent, organic egg sales increased an astonishing 119.8 percent, according to data from Euromonitor, proving that consumers will indeed pay a premium for what they think is a better product. Read Full Article »

Potentially Hazardous Nanoparticles Found in Powdered Baby Formula

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Friends of the Earth

Select Gerber (NESN VX), Enfamil (MJN), Similac (ABT), and Well Beginnings (WBA) products tested

Source: Alper Tecer

OAKLAND, CALIF. — Nanoparticles linked to potential health hazards were found in popular powdered baby formula products, according to a first-of-its-kind report released today. Scientists found unlabeled and under regulated nanotechnologies in six out of six formulas tested, including Gerber, Enfamil, Similac and Well Beginnings products currently on store shelves.

Friends of the Earth’s report, “Nanoparticles in Baby Formula: Tiny new ingredients are a big concern,” details new findings from independent lab research and compiles data from health impact studies on nanoparticles. Nano-sized structures and particles of potential concern were found in all six of the baby formulas tested, including: nano-hydroxyapatite (nano HA) in needle-like and non needle-like form, nano titanium dioxide (TiO2), and nano silicon dioxide (SiO2) (the nano TiO2 and SiO2 results demonstrated possible presence).

“This technology is moving from the lab to the marketplace without sufficient regulation, safety assessment and labeling,” said lead report author, Ian Illuminato, health and environment campaigner with Friends of the Earth. Read Full Article »

Misgivings About How a Weed Killer Affects the Soil

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The New York Times
by Stephanie Strom

Source: canvas blank

ALTON, Iowa — The puny, yellow corn stalks stand like weary sentries on one boundary of Dennis Von Arb’s field here.

On a windy day this spring, his neighbor sprayed glyphosate on his fields, and some of the herbicide blew onto Mr. Von Arb’s conventionally grown corn, killing the first few rows.

He’s more concerned, though, about the soil. During heavy rains in the summer, the runoff from his neighbor’s farm soaked his fields with glyphosate-laden water.

“Anything you put on the land affects the chemistry and biology of the land, and that’s a powerful pesticide,” Mr. Von Arb said.

But 20 miles down the road, Brad Vermeer brushes aside such concerns.

He grows “traited,” or biotech, corn and soy on some 1,500 acres and estimates that his yield would fall by 20 percent if he switched to conventional crops and stopped using glyphosate, known by brand names like Roundup and Buccaneer.

In short, it is just too profitable to give up. Read Full Article »

UN/WHO Panel in Conflict of Interest Row over Glyphosate Cancer Risk

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The Guardian
by Arthur Neslen

Source: 401kcalculator

Chairman of UN’s joint meeting on pesticide residues co-runs scientific institute which received donation from Monsanto, which uses glyphosate

A UN panel that on Tuesday ruled that glyphosate was probably not carcinogenic to humans has now become embroiled in a bitter row about potential conflicts of interests. It has emerged that an institute co-run by the chairman of the UN’s joint meeting on pesticide residues (JMPR) received a six-figure donation from Monsanto, which uses the substance as a core ingredient in its bestselling Roundup weedkiller.

Professor Alan Boobis, who chaired the UN’s joint FAO/WHO meeting on glyphosate, also works as the vice-president of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) Europe. The co-chair of the sessions was Professor Angelo Moretto, a board member of ILSI’s Health and Environmental Services Institute, and of its Risk21 steering group too, which Boobis also co-chairs. Read Full Article »

Vermont To Delay Citizen Right To Sue Over GMO Labels

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Food & Environment Reporting Network
by Chuck Abbott

Source: Beth Cortez-Neavel

Consumers will not be allowed to sue over companies’ failure to label GMO foods until next summer, Vermont legislators decided, with the state’s first-in-the-nation label law taking effect July 1.

In the final days of their session, Vermont legislators attached a rider to the omnibus budget bill that delays to July 1, 2017, the citizen “right of action” against companies that do not comply with the label law, said Vermont Digger. “Store owners were concerned that they could face legal action for products without GMO labels that were distributed before the law kicks in.” State Attorney General William Sorrell says the state will allow a six-month grace period for compliance.

The language delaying the citizen right to sue was written in consultations among Sorrell’s office, Vermont grocers and proponents of the label law, said the Digger. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group said the rider does not significantly alter the labeling law. Read Full Article »