By Katherine Paul for AlterNet -Two new reports published in recent weeks add to the already large and convincing body of evidence, accumulated over more than half a century, that agricultural pesticides and other toxic chemicals are poisoning us. Both reports issue scathing indictments of U.S. and global regulatory systems that collude with chemical companies to hide the truth from the public, while they fill their coffers with ill-gotten profits. According to the World Health Organization, whose report focused on a range of environmental risks, the cost of a polluted environment adds up to the deaths of 1.7 million children every year.
By Ronnie Cummins for Organic Consumers Association – Trump has appointed a slate of millionaire and billionaire corporate cronies to key, powerful positions, with orders to immediately set to work rolling back any regulations or policies that even hint at cutting into corporate profits. We will have an EPA Administrator, an Energy Secretary and a head of the CIA who largely reject the international scientific consensus that human behavior is a contributing factor to global warming. We will have billionaire bankers running the U.S. Treasury Department and the American economy. And yesterday we learned, not surprisingly, that the new USDA Secretary of Agriculture will be former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.
By Alice Martin-Prevel of the Oakland Institute. Oakland, CA—Ahead of World Bank’s release of the 2017 “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” (EBA) report this month, 157 organizations and academics from around the world denounce the Bank’s scheme to hijack farmers’ right to seeds, attack on food sovereignty and the environment. In a letter to the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and EBA’s five Western donors, the group demands the immediate end of the project, originally requested by the G8 to support its industry-co-opted New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. “The EBA dictates so-called ‘good practices’ to regulate agriculture and scores countries on how well they implement its prescriptions,” said Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute. “But the EBA has become the latest tool, to push pro-corporate agricultural policies, notably in the seed sector—where it promotes industrial seeds, that benefit a handful of agrochemical companies,” he continued.
By Eleanor Goldfield for Act Out! Conveniently signed into law on December 23rd, the benignly named Cultural Engagement Center just seeks to “recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” Or as journalist Rick Sterling put it, it sets aside “160 million dollars to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.” And, yes, bees are dying. And for those of us who enjoy eating food, that’s bad news. Enter the solitary bee. This means local bees pollinating local plants and crops, promoting the overall ecological health of the entire area they populate. Charlie Mohr of Crown Bees explains more about how we can save the bees, our food and our land with solitary bees.
By Clint Rainey for Grub Street – Despite him using the word “freely to describe black people,” police told Ford it wasn’t a criminal act, so there wasn’t much they could do. Ford took to Facebook instead, where her post quickly exploded. While she says the site deleted the original for some reason, her updates have received plenty of attention: It didn’t take long for Dairy Queen’s headquarters to take action. It released a statement Thursday that called Crichton’s behavior “inexcusable, reprehensible, and unacceptable,” and then, on Friday, the chain announced that Crichton’s restaurant would close, effective immediately, and “not reopen as a Dairy Queen unless ownership changes at that location.”
By Melissa Hellman for Yes! Magazine. For two months in 2012, longtime Iola, Kansas, resident Mary Ross trudged through the sweltering heat, waving gnats from her view as she walked door to door with a petition. It was the hottest summer since moving there with her family about 30 years ago, but Ross was determined to gather signatures requesting a grocery store be established in the small rural town of fewer than 6,000 people. Iola had lost its last independent grocery store four years earlier, shortly after the Wal-mart Supercenter—with its own expansive aisles—came to town and drove out all of the competition. “I live in a small town. That was my choice,” she says. But since Iola’s three smaller grocery stores went out of business, she has to drive 8 to 20 miles to find healthy food choices and the specific ingredients for her home-cooked meals.
By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – A unique new study published Monday in the scientific journal Nature has used molecular profiles to reveal major differences in composition between a GMO corn and its non-GMO parent. These findings question industry and regulatory position of “substantial equivalence” and have serious safety implications. The new peer-reviewed study led by Dr Michael Antoniou at King’s College London describes the effects of the process of genetic engineering on the composition of a genetically modified Roundup-resistant GMO corn variety, NK603.
By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – Farmers in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, China’s top grain producer, will be prohibited from growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops, according to a provincial regulation passed on Friday. The regulation will become effective on May 1, 2017. Growing of GM corn, rice and soybean will be banned, while illegal production and sales of GM crops and supply of their seeds will also be prohibited. The new regulation also bans illegal production, processing, sale and imports of edible GM farm produce or edible farm products that contain GM ingredients.
By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) informed Sustainable Pulse on Monday that they will allow multi-ingredient products, which include GMO fed animal products, such as eggs, meat or poultry, to be labeled Non-GMO. Sustainable Pulse requested further details on the FSIS guidelines published in August, due to ‘confusing’ language regarding which products will be able to be labeled non-GMO. FSIS confirmed that for “single ingredient products, such as a steak, plain chicken breast or ground beef, and the animal that the meat came from was fed GMO feed, that product cannot be labeled as non-GMO.”
By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association. If ever conditions were ripe for revolution, that time is now—especially for anyone who cares about their health, and the health of planet earth. President-Elect Donald Trump’s short lists for his environment and agriculture cabinet appointments are dominated by entrenched D.C. insiders, career politicians and industry lobbyists. Not one of these proposed “leaders” supports policies that would lead to healthier food, a cleaner environment or a cooler planet. So much for “draining the swamp.” And so much for an easy road to forward progress on food, ag and climate policy under our future fast-food leader. At the federal policy level, consumers will have little or no say over matters that have a dramatic—sometimes devastating—impact on our health and the environment. That means we’ll need to take our battle to the marketplace.
By Ronnie Cummins for Organic Consumers Association – The bad news is that we are fast approaching (likely within 25 years) “the point of no return” for retaining enough climate stability, soil fertility, water and biodiversity to support human life on this planet. The toxic synergy of our out-of-control political, energy, food, farming and land-use systems threaten our very survival.
By Danielle Endvick for Wisconsin Farmers Union – CHIPPEWA FALLS – Responses to a recent survey sent out by Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) indicate dairy farmers throughout the state are against passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in its current form. The survey, which was sent to all dairy producers in Wisconsin, is the first of its kind to ask dairy farmers directly about their views on the TPP.
By Carey Gillam for Nation of Change – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began glyphosate residue testing in a small number of foods earlier this year after the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in March 2015. The “special assignment,” as the FDA refers to the testing project, is the first time the FDA has ever looked for glyphosate residues in food, though it annually tests foods for numerous other pesticides.
By Staff of GMA – OLYMPIA — In a historic decision, a Thurston County Superior Court judge today ordered the Grocery Manufacturers Association to pay $18 million in penalties and punitive damages, after Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit revealed GMA intentionally violated Washington campaign finance laws. The case arose from Ferguson’s investigation of the finances of opposition to voter Initiative 522, which would have required labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food sold to consumers.
By Jan Rocha for Climate News network – SÃO PAULO, 30 October, 2016 – The UN’s latest State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report warns that rainfall patterns will have changed so drastically by the end of this century that agriculture, forestry and fishing will all be seriously affected. “It will become more and more difficult to harvest crops, rear animals and manage forests and fisheries in the same places and in the same way as before,” says the report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO).