Lawsuit calls for USDA to release study on QR codes and GMO food labeling

The anti-GMO group Center for Food Safety filed suit against the USDA to force release of a study on the impact of using digital disclosures such as QR codes to identify foods made with GMO ingredients. "In the United States, there has never been a food labeling requirement met by QR codes," says the center, which prefers a written label on food packages.

USDA weighs open-air trial of GE moth to combat crop pest

New York "is one step closer to becoming the first state to have genetically modified, non-sterile insects released" for an open-air trial against the crop-damaging diamondback month, says news site EcoWatch. The public comment period has closed on USDA's environmental assessment, which says the proposed field trial is unlikely to cause adverse effects on plants, soil, water and people.

EPA wrongly approved use of neonics in 59 instances, says judge

A U.S. district judge in California ruled that the EPA violated the Endangered Species Act when it issued 59 registrations from 2007-12 that allow use of neonicotinoid insecticides in agricultural, landscaping and ornamental uses. District Judge Maxine Chesney issued a mixed verdict that upheld some the issues raised by beekeepers and environmental groups but denied others.

Seed companies win major case on Hawaiian GMOs

In a victory for Monsanto, Syngenta and other seed companies farming in Hawaii, a federal appeals court ruled that counties can’t regulate pesticide use or GMO crops, says Civil Beat. “The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Friday that Hawaii state pesticide law is comprehensive, and that the Legislature intended it to be 'uniform and exclusive of additional, local rules.'”

Rodale launches national association for organic farmers

A longtime advocate for, and researcher of, organic agriculture, Rodale Institute is launching the Organic Farmers Association, which it says will be the first U.S. group speaking solely for organic farmers. The USDA reported last week that there are 12,818 certified organic farms covering 4.36 million acres, a small share of the 2.07 million farms and 912 million acres of farmland in the country.

Obama signs GMOs-in-food disclosure law; rules in two years

Reversing a two-decade federal policy on labeling, President Obama has signed a law that mandates disclosure of GMO ingredients in food via a symbol, a digital code or wording on food packages.

U.S. to decide by mid-2019 whether monarch butterfly is endangered

Under terms of a settlement, the Interior Department will rule by June 30, 2019, whether the monarch butterfly, which has suffered a huge drop in population, deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act, said two environmental groups. The groups say without help, the well-known orange-and-black insect is at risk of extinction.

Report calls for Hawaii to clamp down on pesticide use

Hawaii’s legislature should “undertake a major update of [state] pesticide laws and regulation,” says a draft report commissioned by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and by Kauai county.

Lawsuit would force decision on monarch butterflies

Two environmental groups sued the Interior Department to force a decision on listing the monarch butterfly as an endangered species.