A U.S. District Court has held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s decision to allow genetically engineered (GMO) foods to only be labeled with a “QR” code was unlawful and that USDA must instead add additional disclosure options to those foods under USDA’s National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The Court sent back to the agency the QR code portions of the 2018 Trump administration rules for GMO labeling that went into effect on January 1, 2022, which hindered consumer access with burdensome electronic or digital disclosures. “This is a victory for all Americans,” said Meredith Stevenson, Center for Food Safety (CFS) staff attorney and counsel in the case. “Today’s decision marks a key step toward ending the food industry’s deceptive and discriminatory GMO food labeling practices, which have kept consumers in the dark by concealing what’s in their products.”
After amassing more than $100,000 in debt over more than two decades of farming, a Georgia-based farmer named Denver got welcome news last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers like him would be eligible for a new debt relief program. USDA would pay off certain loans and give him a little extra for tax liabilities. Denver did not receive a payment. But almost a year later, he received another letter: A notice that USDA intends to take legal action to collect the money he owes the agency. Denver asked the Center for Public Integrity not to use his last name out of fear of retaliation. “We know that institutional discrimination is systemic within USDA,” said Tracy Lloyd McCurty, executive director of the Black Belt Justice Center.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $1 billion in projects that encourage farmers, ranchers and owners of forested land to employ practices that help mitigate the effects of climate change by lowering greenhouse gas emissions or catching and storing carbon, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack told Reuters on Monday. The new program is called the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. President Biden has committed to cutting agricultural emissions in half by 2030 and has asked farmers to lead the way, as U.S. agriculture is responsible for more than 10 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates, CNBC reported.
Washington, DC - Citing the Presidential Memorandum signed by President Joe Biden on Jan. 26 on tribal consultation and strengthening nation to nation relationships, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has put on hold the transfer of 5,439 acres of high-value conservation land in Arizona to Resolution Copper. The acres include Chich’il Bildagoteel, known as Oak Flat, which is the heart of several southwest tribal religious and cultural beliefs. During the last days of the Trump administration, federal officials attempted to speed up the transfer to Resolution Copper that would mine the land. On January 15, 2021, five days before Trump left the presidency, the Tonto National Forest released the Resolution Copper Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and draft Record of Decision (ROD) for objection.
After weeks of rumors, President-elect Joe Biden confirmed last week that he has picked Tom Vilsack as his secretary of agriculture. Vilsack previously held the position under the Obama administration, from 2009 to 2017. This decision has disappointed many progressive Democrats who were hoping Biden’s cabinet picks would include a more diverse coalition and signal a push to the left. Vilsack, on the contrary, is quite literally more of the same: a wealthy white man and establishment Democrat with countless corporate interests and an atrocious record on climate change and civil rights. We should not be surprised by this decision, though.
Food safety advocates warned Monday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's newly implemented rules for pig slaughter are setting the stage for a potential public health disaster—including the possibility of another infectious disease that could come from animals. At issue is the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS), which the USDA finalized in October. Touted by the federal agency as a "modernization" effort, the regulation sparked immediate fears and lawsuits by watchdog groups over its elimination of kill speed limits and weakening of the inspection system. As NBC News previously reported: The new rule will let factory workers, rather than USDA inspectors, remove unsuitable carcasses and trim defects in plants that opt into the new inspection system.
The 9-Percent Lie: Why Are The USDA And EPA Hiding The Fact That Half Of All US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Come From Industrial Food, Farming And Land Use?
The Climate Emergency is finally getting the attention of the media and the U.S. (and world) body politic, as well as a growing number of politicians, activists and even U.S. farmers. This great awakening has arrived just in time, given the record-breaking temperatures, violent weather, crop failures and massive waves of forced migration that are quickly becoming the norm. Global scientists have dropped their customary caution. They now warn us that we have to drastically reduce global emissions—by at least 45 percent...
On June 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed to overhaul longstanding regulations governing genetically modified organisms (GMO). The proposed new rule would revise the agency's current method for regulating genetically modified plants, and would exclude newer so-called “gene-edited” GMOs. In a statement, the USDA said the new rule came "in response to advances in genetic engineering." A week later, in the political equivalent of a one-two-punch, President Trump bolstered the USDA’s proposal by signing an executive order directing the USDA...
By Staff of GJEP - Washington, DC — Well over a quarter of a million people and 500 organizations submitted comments yesterday rejecting the commercialization of ArborGen Inc.’s genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees, which, if approved, would be the first-ever GE forest tree approved in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed approval in April 2017, releasing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) for public comment. This comment period ended on 5 July. The GE eucalyptus trees are engineered to tolerate freezing temperatures in order to greatly expand their growing range. The approval of these GE trees could set a precedent for future approval of GE forest trees such as poplar and pine. In the dEIS, USDA downplayed or ignored the significant risks posed by these novel GE trees. The agency conservatively predicts commercial GE eucalyptus plantations would cover over one million acres across seven southern states—from coastal South Carolina to eastern Texas. This would have devastating consequences across this region, which is home to a number of the poorest counties in the country, as well as some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. The region is already precariously threatened by climate change and sprawl.
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.”
Following reports that scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture are being harassed and their research on bee-killing pesticides is being censored or suppressed, a broad coalition of farmers, environmentalists, fisheries and food-safety organizations urged an investigation in a May 5 letter sent to Phyllis K. Fong, USDA Inspector General. "The possibility that the USDA is prioritizing the interests of the chemical industry over those of the American public is unacceptable," states the letter, which was signed by more than 25 citizens' groups concerned that a forthcoming report by the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health, which is co-chaired by the USDA, will be compromised. The signatories include the American Bird Conservancy, Avaaz, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Farmworkers Association of Florida, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Green America, Organic Consumers Association and Sierra Club.