More than three years after the FDA approved, for the first time, a genetically engineered animal as safe to eat, the government opened the door for AquaBounty Technologies to grow and sell its GE salmon in the United States. A biotech trade group said the fish, which developers say grows twice as fast as as conventional Atlantic salmon on 25-percent less feed, will "contribute to a more sustainable food supply."
The USDA released rules on Thursday for on-package labeling of bioengineered ingredients. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard will require most food manufacturers, importers, and some retailers to clearly label bioengineered ingredients.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $145 billion USDA-FDA funding bill on Thursday that would extend a ban on the sale of genetically modified salmon until the FDA requires special labels on the fish.
A May court ruling that would allow the release of SNAP sales data may not be the end of a South Dakota newspaper’s seven-year battle for access to the information. The House Appropriations Committee voted on Wednesday to keep the data confidential.
Food makers would be allowed to use a circular logo with the initials “BE” to identify foods made with GMO ingredients under a labeling rule proposed by the USDA.
Pamela Bailey, the chief executive of the Grocery Manufacturers Association for nearly a decade, announced she will retire later this year. Bailey said the GMA board "continues to engage in the reinvention process to build the association of the future," so "it is best they do so in concert with their leader of the future."
Americans have a right to know what’s in their food, said 11 Democratic senators in urging the USDA to mandate clear and easy-to-understand labels on food made with genetically modified organisms.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a giant among trade groups, is beginning to bleed members, with Nestlé the latest foodmaker to pull out, says Politico. "Complacency and a lack of leadership" at GMA are a factor, along with the hurly-burly of competing for sales in an evolving marketplace, it says.
The U.S. appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the city’s ordinance requiring health warnings on display advertisements for sugar-sweetened drinks is a violation of the Constitution’s freedom of speech protections. A lawyer for the Washington Legal Foundation told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ruling, by recognizing “the right not to speak,” puts a cloud over government efforts to require labeling of foods made with GMO ingredients.
With 13 months left to write final rules on the disclosure of GMO ingredients in food, the USDA posted 30 questions on its website about possible contents of the rule. It is allowing 19 days, until July 17, for public comment.
President Trump's nominee for FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, says he might delay the debut of the updated Nutrition Facts label, now set for July 2018. For the first time, the label would list how many grams of sugar are added to foods during processing, said Food Navigator. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts asked Gottlieb to consider a delay on grounds FDA has not finalized its "guidance" documents on dietary fiber and added sugar.
A Washington state judge ordered the Grocer Manufacturers Association to pay $1.1 million in costs and fees in a campaign finance lawsuit stemming from the state referendum over GMO food labeling in 2013. The trade group previously was fined $18 million for violating state campaign laws, the largest penalty ever.
With the rise in imports of GMO crops and foods, Japan is considering an expansion of mandatory labeling, which now applies to 33 food items, sources in the Consumer Affairs Agency told the Kyodo news agency. The food industry and consumer groups "are expected to engage in a tug of war over where to draw the line," said the news agency.
The Trump administration will focus on regulatory relief in its early days in office, said two farm-policy hands, who pointed to EPA's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule as a prime example of federal over-reach. Chuck Conner, of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said President-elect Trump will be forceful in rolling back regulations, and Dale Moore, of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the regulatory burden saps farmers' bottom lines.
Farm groups that said they wanted protection against out-of-state animal rights activists and anti-GMO campaigners failed to persuade Oklahoma voters, who rejected a proposed right-to-farm amendment to the state constitution by a landslide. The defeat, along with passage of a Massachusetts referendum on livestock welfare, dented the reputation of farm lobby, which failed to stop a nationwide GMO disclosure law in July.
Three months after Congress passed a law for mandatory disclosure of GMO ingredients in food, five dozen farm and food industry groups asked Congress to assure access to "modern agricultural tools." They also asked for a $3 million appropriation so the FDA and USDA can "educate the public" about use of biotechnology in the food and agriculture sector.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association says it will "vigorously pursue its options to correct" the record-setting $18 million fine levied on it by a Washington state judge for violating campaign finance laws in the 2013 state referendum on labeling GMO foods.
The food movement "ought to celebrate" the federal law that will require disclosure of GMO ingredients in food instead of wishing for a complete victory, said Tom Colicchio, co-founder of the activist group Food Policy Action, during a pre-election webinar. FPA has targeted three lawmakers for defeat as backers of "rotten food policies."
The organic food industry is feeling threatened by a new label on the shelf: “Non-GMO Project Verified.” Organic farmers and manufacturers told NPR that they’re afraid customers don’t realize that non-GMO foods can still be grown with conventional methods, including chemical sprays and synthetic fertilizers.