Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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Science 2.0’s Hank Campbell discusses the U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector General’s recent audit of the National Organic Program, arguing that USDA should exert enforcement equally to organic and conventional food standards. He notes USDA has been lenient on organic regulation enforcement, including imported conventional foods labeled as organic, with no negative health effects, which Campbell argues is proof the organic label holds little meaning.
Meanwhile, the Energy and Environment Legal Institute has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human services for failing to release public records related to its work with the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s assessment of glyphosate, a chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The institute’s president, Craig Richardson, argues the agencies used taxpayer dollars, and therefore the public has a right to know the details of the relationship in order to determine the truth about glyphosate.
Another Monsanto herbicide, Dicamba, was the topic for Hoosier Ag Today columnist Gary Truitt, who asserts the weed killer is difficult to manage, but economically beneficial for farmers. Truitt’s concerns about dicamba stem from its use of technology for specific spraying protocols that, if not followed carefully, can lead to severe consequences. However, Truitt contends that with the right education, such as farmer-to-farmer mentorship, dicamba can be a vital tool to maximize production.
In biotech news, Annette Maggi writes for Huffington Post about Arctic Apples, a bioengineered apple launching in select U.S. retailers this fall. Maggi explains that the apple is engineered to keep it from browning prematurely, decreasing unnecessary waste. She hopes Arctic Apples will draw positive attention towards biotechnology, because while all GMOs have been proven safe, these apples are the first instance where bioengineering was used to primarily benefit the consumer rather than the farmer.
I’m Maya Menon for the Food and Ag report in Washington.