Trump slaps tariffs on Brazil, Argentina metals – and French champagne

Brazil and Argentina are taking actions that are "not good for our farmers," said President Trump on Monday, announcing high tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the South American nations. Trump, who announced the tariffs on social media, said the weakening Brazilian real and Argentina peso adversely affects U.S. manufacturing and agricultural exports, making American-made goods more expensive.

French dairy giant recalls 7,000 tons of baby formula

Lactalis, the biggest dairy company in France, has recalled over 7,000 tons of baby formula and powdered milk products across 80 countries, reports the New York Times. The recalls, which were implemented over the course of several weeks, amounted to one of the biggest such recalls in history. At least 38 children were sickened by salmonella found in the recalled products.

Red light, green light: France rolls out color codes for food labels

French shoppers will be able to tell at a glance if food products are healthy or not under a voluntary "Nutri Score" color code for food products, ranging from a dark green "A," for the best foods, to a red "E," for the worst, says Euractiv. The ministries of health, agriculture and economy jointly introduced the plan, saying it would allow nutritional value to be weighed as easily as price at the grocery store.

EU extends glyphosate for five years, with Germany’s vote

Ending a year-and-a-half of indecision, EU nations voted for a five-year extension of its license of glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world. Germany was pivotal in reaching the qualified majority – 55 percent of EU nations with at least 65 percent of EU population – for passage with France, the largest EU agricultural producer, opposing the extension, said online newspaper EU Observer.

France, an EU ag giant, will vote against 10-year glyphosate license

France is open to phasing out use of the weedkiller glyphosate within its borders and will vote against a proposed 10-year EU license for the weedkiller, said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Reuters reported that Philippe asked the agriculture and environment ministries to propose by the end of this year "a plan to move away from glyphosate in light of current research and available alternatives for farmers."

Trump says ‘something could happen’ on climate treaty

After meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, President Trump told reporters that he might consider recommitting the United States to the Paris climate accord, which he pulled the country out of in May, said Reuters.

France to stick to 2018 neonicotinoid ban

The first internal dispute of the Macron administration showcased the contrasting views of France’s agriculture and environment ministers over a law that bans the use of neonicotinoid insecticides starting in 2018.

French pastry-makers worry over butter shortage

Butter prices are soaring in France, the home of the croissant, whose flaky crust and satisfying taste rely on the dairy product, reports the Guardian. "There is a real risk of butter running out," says the federation of French biscuit and cake makers.

French law ineffective against food waste by supermarkets

A year ago, as a step against food waste, the French Parliament voted to fine supermarkets that throw away food products that are still edible or can be converted to feed for animals. The supermarkets were expected to make arrangements to donate the items to charities, says Food Navigator, but "many feel that regulation will remain ineffective until government support is provided across the food chain."

Bird flu on the move in Europe and Asia, with poultry and human victims

Strains of the influenza virus that decimated Midwestern turkey and egg production in 2014 and 2015 are now wreaking havoc in poultry production in several parts of the world, including China where the virus has jumped species and infected and killed humans.

France and UN pressure Trump to respect climate treaty

At climate talks in Marrakesh, Morocco, leaders from France and the United Nations urged President-elect Donald Trump to rethink his promise to back out of the Paris Agreement, reports Reuters. Trump has said he wants to cancel the U.S. commitment to the treaty, which aims to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Soon, we will use smartphones to scan produce for pesticides

With 700 million pounds of pesticide used every year, inventors are trying to create a new generation of pesticide-detectors, cheap enough for the public to afford, says Modern Farmer. One Belgian research team has developed a machine that can “smell” pesticides.

Don’t expect to eat your brie on a plastic plate in France

France is now the first country in the world to ban plastic cups, plates and utensils, says the Washington Post. The countrywide rule will go into effect in 2020. "The new law is a part of the country’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, the same legislation that also outlawed plastic bags in grocery stores and markets beginning in July."

As the waistline grows, France mulls higher junk food tax

Nearly half of the French population is overweight or obese, an unflattering rebuttal to the national reputation of responsible indulgence in a toothsome cuisine, says the Telegraph. Intending to slow the collective weight gain, the Treasury suggested two options -- a new tax or an increase on the current VAT (value-added tax) of 5.5 percent on junk food to a rate as high as 20 percent.

President Hollande chose his ex-wife over his best friend in French glyphosate vote

Earlier this year, when France voted to not extend glyphosate’s EU license for 18 months, the decision was personal for President François Hollande, says Politico EU. Hollande essentially had to choose between siding with his best friend in government, Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll, and the mother of his four children, Energy and Environment Minister Ségolène Royal.

French wheat crop down 26 percent on poor weather

FNSEA, the French national farming union, estimates the wheat crop in Europe’s largest agricultural producer will total 30 million tonnes this year, down 26 percent from 2016 due to a rainy and cloudy weather that kept grains from filling.

Suspected case of mad cow in France, first in 12 years

A five-year-old cow in the Ardennes region of northeastern France may have the brain-wasting affliction known as mad cow disease, says Reuters. If confirmed, it would be the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the country since 2004.

France advances bill to ban neonicotinoids

France’s National Assembly narrowly passed a total ban on neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides that has been implicated in the Colony Collapse Disorder that has devastated honeybee populations, says Reuters.

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