Hidden costs of agrifood system tops $10 trillion, says FAO

Food production and consumption — from farm to table to leftovers put in the trash can — carry "huge hidden costs" of at least $10 trillion a year, mostly from the consequences of unhealthy diets, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Monday. In its State of Food and Agriculture report, the FAO urged governments and the private sector to use a true-cost accounting system to assess the flaws in the agrifood system and how to mitigate them.

Spend more on food and ag research, says ASU food leader

Congress perennially recognizes the long-term payoff from agricultural research but repeatedly fails to adequately fund the work in the near term, said Kathleen Merrigan, who served as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture during the Obama era. During a panel discussion on the future of global agriculture, she put ag research at the top of her list of issues that need attention.

More meat: It’s what’s for dinner

Americans are going to eat a lot of meat in 2018 — 222.2 pounds per person, according to USDA projections that are based on the expectation of a comparatively strong economy that will give people more disposable income.

What do you get when you cross Korean barbecue with ice cream?

What do you get when you cross Korean barbecue with ice cream? A Spam ice cream sandwich is one of three answers in Culver City, the Los Angeles suburb. "The Hawaiian Pizza sandwich includes pineapple ice cream and Spam pieces between white chocolate macadamia nut cookies," says the Los Angeles Times.

Enormous potential in Cuba, ag trade is not a one-way street

World Food Prize laureate Pedro Sanchez, a soils scientist, says Cuba "could be a very good market" for U.S. food companies, but adds that "it's not a one-way situation." In an interview with UC Food Observer, Sanchez said, "America has so much to learn from Cuba. Some of the agricultural techniques used in Cuba may benefit our food system."

Candidates should talk about the ‘F-word,’ but probably won’t

Political reporters from newspapers in Chico and Sacramento, California, and Reno, Nevada, collaborated on a list of “10 issues that the presidential candidates absolutely need to discuss but probably won’t.” The “F-word” -- as in food -- comes in at number four.

Recruiting growers to go organic as sales surge

Grocers, restaurants and other companies that use organic foods "have turned to creative strategies for wooing prospective farmers and ranchers," says the Des Moines Register.

‘Bubble greenhouse’ to desalinate water and grow crops

Engineers from Murdoch University in Australia hope to build a prototype "bubble greenhouse" that could be used in arid areas as a low-tech way to turn saltwater into fresh water and grow food, says SciDevNet, a website devoted to international development.

White House defers to FDA on GMO food-labeling petitions

The White House responded to two petitions for labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms by deferring to the expertise of the FDA, which has been studying the question for more than two years.

Biggest one-month increase in egg prices in 42 years

With supplies crimped by bird flu, retail egg prices jumped 17.8 percent in June, "the largest month-over-month increase since 1973, and are now 21.8 percent above the June 2014 levels", said the USDA in dramatically raising its forecast of egg prices for the year.

Too many still weigh too much, but Americans are eating less

"After decades of worsening diets and sharp increases in obesity, Americans' eating habits have begun changing for the better," says the New York Times.

New grocery store in “food desert” would sell locally grown food

In central Illinois, the Green Top Grocery, scheduled to open in a "food desert," would improve the diets of shoppers and the incomes of nearby farmers, says Iowa Farmer Today.

U.S. urged to update ag research to meet global demands

The AGree policy initiative called for greater funding for the U.S. agricultural and food research system, coupled with an updated list of priorities for publicly funded research.

A simple way to make starchy rice less caloric

Rice, one of the world's staple foods, feeds hundreds of millions of people daily. It's also high in starch, "which turns to sugar, and often thereafter body fat," says the Washington Post.

Japan lowers its target for food self-sufficiency

Japan, the largest Asian importer of corn, beef and pork, has lowered its target for food self-sufficiency to 45 percent by 2026 from the current 50 percent, said Bloomberg.

People shop around for groceries, even when they walk

Overwhelmingly, Americans drive to the grocery store and they usually don't go to the store nearest to their homes, even if they have to walk, take a bus or get a ride with someone else, says a USDA study.

Potlucks or pub nights, women farmers build networks

In the business of agriculture, food becomes part of networking among professionals, says Civil Eats, describing how new women farmers in Wisconsin created a grassroots network through informal potluck meals.

Dry winter compounds chronic food shortages in North Korea

"Markedly lower" rainfall is raising concern about the winter wheat and barley crops in North Korea, says the Washington Post. The winter grains supply only 5 percent of North Korea's food but are a vital bridge, the so-called barley hump, during the spring...

The label says “GMO free” but no uniformity on certification

While lawmakers argue over labeling food made with genetically modified organisms, "products certified as containing no genetically modified organisms are proliferating on grocery shelves without any nationwide mandatory regulations," says the New York Times.

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