Archived Posts

News Flash: July 9, 2015


Food fight! Congress, consumers battle over GMOs

Congress is in a fierce debate over the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican Representative, is in favor of a voluntary labeling system and has sponsored a bill that would “block state and local laws from requiring food labels to disclose genetically engineered ingredients.”  While three states, Vermont Connecticut, and Maine, have passed mandatory labeling laws for GMOs, 15 other states are considering similar regulations. McClatchy DC

Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University develops faster system to identify ‘gutter oil’

Scientists at Polytechnic University have developed a method to quickly distinguish between “gutter oils” and safe edible oils, while gutter oils are at the center of food safety scandals in Hong Kong. Traditionally, testing is lengthy and labor-intensive, but the Polytechnic University team of scientists has adopted a new technique using lasers to ionize samples to then analyze the oil spectra which compares the oil components and the intensity in which they are found.  “Oil problems have become international with Taiwan, Hong Kong and even Singapore involved in ‘gutter oil’ scandals, but the present detection methods are complicated and time-consuming,” said Dr Yao Zhongping, who led the project. “Our project saves on consumables and is automatic.” The process allows sample screening in five minutes in comparison to the traditional approach requirements of pretreating and separation to receive the same results. South China Morning Post


Farm Bureau to EPA: Proposed rule would hurt biofuel market and environment

The American Farm Bureau requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its rule to reduce renewable fuels in the nation’s gas supply. Farm Bureau officers find the rule to be a harmful step in the wrong direction with disregard to the benefits of biofuel. Iowa Farm Bureau’s, Charlie Norris, who grows corn and soybeans, said “EPA’s rationale for this proposed rule is flawed. The renewable fuel standard has already met and surpassed all of its intended goals, and the EPA should continue to follow the volumes specified in the law.” Farm Bureau News


Calls for choice on GM

According to Nick Goddard, Director of the Australian Oilseeds Federation, despite high premiums for growing non-genetically modified canola, reaching up to $20 a tonne, croppers continue to turn to GM technology to improve yields and aid in weed management. Goddard spoke as a guest speaker at a Future Farming Forum in Adelaide on Monday with a focus on GM crop technologies, particularly canola. GM crops are currently grown in Vic, NSA and WA, while SA has a suspension on GM crops in place until September of 2019. According to Monsanto Australia, about 13% of canola grown in Vic will be Roundup ready this year. Stock Journal


Nebraska acreage report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics service reported to Nebraska corn growers planting 9.3 million acres, without changes from last year. Biotechnology varieties were used on 96 percent of the planted area, which also remains unchanged from last year. Growers expect to harvest 8.90 million acres for grain which is a one percent decrease from last year. Lexington Clipper-Herald


Big boost for small palm oil planters in Malaysia

Malaysia’s palm oil small-holders, including over 400,000, will finally get to see their estates certified as producers of sustainable palm oil under the Government’s Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification standard. There was an initial $13.2 million allocated for this purpose and many small-holders are more receptive to getting the MSPO certification versus the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification. The RSPO certification has imposed stringent rules and a costly auditing process.  The Jakarta Post


Avocado, soybean oils may combat arthritis, studies say

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of Americans will suffer from knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime, while hip osteoarthritis will affect about a quarter of the population. Some clinicians say that dietary supplements made from avocado and soybean oils can relieve hip and knee osteoarthritis pain without side effects. A number of studies found a French Company’s avocado-soy-oil blend helpful to pain over 3-6 months. Fox News