Food and Water Watch

Dairy, beef win marketing openings in China; will U.S. accept Chinese chicken?

Following the first shipments of U.S. beef to China in 14 years, the U.S. Dairy Export Council says the United States and China have signed a memorandum of understanding “on dairy trade assurances that will allow more exports from the United States.” At the same time, a consumer group said the United States should not allow China to ship poultry products to America.

U.S. appeals court blocks disclosure of CAFO ownership

A U.S. court of appeals overturned a lower court ruling and blocked the disclosure of ownership information about concentrated animal feeding operations, Agri-Pulse reported. The appeals court determined that the EPA had violated the Freedom of Information Act by releasing personal information, including phone numbers and email addresses, of CAFOs.

Senate bill would label GE salmon, block beef imports

Retailers would have to identify transgenic salmon as genetically engineered and imports of raw beef from Brazil and Argentina would be barred under the USDA/FDA funding bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Nearly 300 groups say no to COOL repeal

Ahead of the House vote on repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labels (COOL) on beef, pork and chicken sold in grocery stores, 283 labor, small-farm, environmental and religious groups published a joint letter asking lawmakers to keep the labeling law in force. "Consumers want more information about their food, not less," said the Consumer Federation of America. R-CALF USA, a cattle-ranchers group, said repeal would "reward the powerful meatpacker lobby" and be a capitulation to threats by Canada and Mexico of retaliatory tariffs.

U.S. ban of raw Brazil beef imports in spotlight as Rousseff visits

Few major achievements are expected during a fence-mending visit by Brazil president Dilma Rousseff to the United States this week, including a bilateral meeting with President Obama on Tuesday, says McClatchy.

“Repeal of mandatory COOL is the surest way,” says Roberts

Warning of retaliatory tariffs of more than $3 billion, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts said, "Repeal of mandatory COOL is the surest way to protect the U.S. economy." Farm and industry groups generally joined the call for repeal during an Agriculture Committee hearing on the impact of a WTO ruling that U.S. country-of-origin labels (COOL) on packages of beef and pork violate world trade rules by discouraging imports from Canada and Mexico.

Doubts about White House proposal for single food agency

Three weeks after the White House proposed a central agency for food safety, the proposal "is already running into opposition from some food safety experts, consumer groups and the inspectors who would be most affected.

Obama plan gives food safety to HHS, ends USDA meat role

President Obama has proposed creating a new agency at the Health and Humans Services Department that would consolidate the food-safety activities of FDA and USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. "The new agency would be charged with pursuing a modern, science-based food safety regulatory regime drawing on best practices of both agencies, with strong enforcement and recall mechanisms, expertise in risk assessment, and enforcement and research efforts across all food types based on...

Virginia nutrient-trading program is praised and panned

A nutrient trading program has saved the state of Virginia more than $1 million while constraining runoff of phosphorus, a fertilizer, into the Chesapeake Bay, said EPA.

USDA approves GE cotton and soy that tolerate dicamba

The government approved cultivation of genetically engineered cotton and soybean varieties from Monsanto that tolerate the weedkillers dicamba and glufosinate. So-called super weeds that are resistant to glyphosate, a widely used herbicide known as Roundup, have prompted work on biotech plants that can be matched with other herbicides.USDA said a Federal Register notice of its decision was scheduled to appear on Tuesday, the effective date for deregulation of the new Monsanto strains.

Consumer, green groups criticize Sustainable Beef criteria

Nineteen consumer, environmental and animal welfare groups says the criteria proposed for a Sustainable Beef project are "fundamentally flawed" and fail to address issues such as use of antibiotics as a growth promotant in cattle.

Four Chinese poultry plants approved to ship to US

USDA said it certified four processing plants in China's Shandong Province to cook and ship poultry meat to U.S. customers, the latest step in a decade-old proposal.

Appeal and negotiate on COOL, don’t repeal it, say backers

The United States should appeal an adverse WTO ruling on country-of-origin labels on beef, pork and chicken meat, said four farm and consumer groups.

WTO again says U.S. meat-orgin labels distort world trade

For the second time, the World Trade Organization ruled U.S. meat-origin labels are a violation of global trade rules. The ruling, which can be appealed, opens the door to retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods if the regulations are not modified. Appeals generally are not successful at this stage at WTO but they can delay an adverse decision for a couple of months.

Consumer groups press for catfish inspection

Four consumer groups and the United Food workers union asked the White House to expedite the creation of the catfish inspection program, now six years past due.

Tyson must sell sow-buying unit as part of Hillshire deal

Tyson Foods, Inc. must sell its sow-buying unit, Heinold Hog Markets, to satisfy antitrust rules and proceed with its purchase of Hilllshire Brands Co. for $8.5 billion, the Justice Department said.

GE food critics to speak at National Research Council

Skeptics of genetically engineered crops will speak during a National Research Council meeting on Sept 15 and 16. A panel of experts was appointed by the council to look at the record of GE crops and future prospects.

USDA revamps poultry inspection, consumer groups cry foul

The government revamped its poultry inspection system so USDA inspectors devote more time to preventing pathogen contamination of meat while processors have more responsibliity for finding quality defects.

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