USDA approves genetically engineered purple tomato
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said Wednesday that it had approved the sale of a genetically engineered tomato altered to change its color and enhance its nutritional quality. The purple tomato was developed to have high levels of anthocyanins, which are linked with health benefits.
Genetic engineering is the future of agriculture, scientists tell lawmakers
The United States must modernize its regulation of agricultural biotechnology, especially in livestock, to reap the benefits of genetic engineering editing and to lead the world in breakthroughs of food production, said a panel of scientists on Tuesday. Joined by some farm-state lawmakers, panelists said the FDA and USDA should share duties in regulation of GE plants and animals.
Over FDA objections, Trump administration says USDA can regulate GE livestock
The Trump administration, in a move sought by the hog industry, pushed through an interdepartmental memorandum before leaving office that allows the USDA to regulate food-bearing GE livestock. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn publicly objected on Tuesday and said his agency "has no intention of abdicating our public health mandate" over animal biotechnology.
Countdown begins for compliance with GMO food-labeling rule
Four years after the thunder in Congress over labeling foods made with GMO ingredients, the deadline for compliance with the USDA labeling regulation is in sight — the end of 2021 — despite complaints that the rule is riddled with loopholes that exempt many foods.
EU dabbles in agricultural protectionism, says Perdue
European barriers to some U.S. food and ag exports — derided as "hormone beef," "chlorine chicken," and GMO "Frankenfoods" — smack of protectionism and could color already acrimonious U.S.-EU trade relations, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a trans-Atlantic discussion on Wednesday.
Put USDA in charge of gene-edited livestock, says hog industry
The U.S. hog industry is going to the White House in its campaign for the USDA to supplant FDA as the federal regulator of gene-edited food animals, leaders said on Tuesday. The industry says American preeminence in science and agricultural exports will suffer if gene-edited advances such as …
Asian wheat buyers aren’t phased by U.S. discovery of rogue GMO wheat
Unlike earlier incidents, Asian customers for wheat grown in the U.S. Northwest did not bat an eye at the USDA announcement that GMO wheat was found growing in the wild in Washignton state. "At this point there is no trade disruption and we do not expect any," said U.S. Wheat Associates, the export promotion arm of the wheat industry, on Monday.
USDA biotech rules nearing update, says undersecretary
The USDA soon will propose a modernized regulatory framework for agricultural biotechnology, said Undersecretary Greg Ibach on Monday, the third attempt since 2008 to overhaul rules that were written at the dawn of genetic engineering. Ibach told a farm conference that he could not discuss the …
Despite tighter rules, dicamba damages 1.1 million acres of soybeans – report
University weed scientists estimate at least 1.2 percent of U.S. soybean plantings have been damaged accidentally by the weedkiller dicamba despite stricter limits on its use this year, said a University of Missouri report. Damage was highest in Illinois, the No. 1 soybean-growing state, where 500,000 acres of the U.S. total of 1.1 million damaged acres are located. Arkansas was second with 300,000 damaged acres.
Handful of GMO wheat plants found in southern Alberta
Canadian regulators are puzzled by the discovery of seven genetically modified wheat stalks in southern Alberta that contain herbicide-tolerant genes, said the Manitoba Cooperator, but they say there's no sign of GMO wheat in the country's seed or wheat supplies. No country has approved GMO wheat for commercial use. Japan suspended purchases of Canadian wheat on Friday until it is certain there are no GMOs in the grain, reported Global News.
Dicamba damage increases; retailers says it’s difficult to control
Most of the pesticide retailers who took part in an Illinois trade association poll reported damage from the weedkiller dicamba even when the weedkiller was sprayed in good conditions, says the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting (MCIR). Separately, the University of Missouri said the herbicide was blamed for damage to 3.6 million acres of soybeans as of Oct. 15, a 16 percent increase from its Aug 10 tally.
Researchers develop bananas resistant to monster fungus
Researchers have developed the first genetically modified version of a Cavendish banana that is resistant to the devastating soil-borne fungus known as Panama disease. The fungus, or Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4), can stay in the soil for 40 years and doesn’t respond to chemical sprays. It has destroyed Cavendish — the main commercial banana variety — plantations around the world, and is fast spreading across Asia.
Americans less accepting of GMO food than GMO meds
Two Purdue researchers say Americans are far more skeptical of genetically engineered crops and livestock than a GMO solution to a health risk, such as the mosquito-spread Zika virus. A survey of 964 people found that 78 percent would support release of GMO mosquitoes to stop Zika while 44 percent would accept GMO livestock, 49 percent would accept GMO crops and 48 percent would accept GMO produce.
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.
Impossible Foods defends its plant-based burger
In a public letter, the chief executive officer of Impossible Foods defended the company’s methods of producing a popular plant-based burger that is designed to mimic meat. The method includes genetically engineering algae to produce a soy protein, which the FDA has said could raise allergen concerns.
AquaBounty notches first sale of its GMO salmon
In a transaction that was 25 years in the making, U.S.-based AquaBounty Technologies announced the sale of 10,000 pounds of its GMO salmon to customers in Canada, meaning "genetically engineered salmon has reached the dinner plate," says the journal Nature. "This is the first time that a genetically engineered animal has been sold for food on the open market."
For second time in a month, China approves U.S. GMO crop for import
China, the top customer for U.S. farm exports, is delivering on a promise to speed up review of import applications, part of the two nations' 100-day timetable for resolving trade issues. Its Agriculture Ministry approved import of an insect-resistant GMO corn strain by Syngenta and a glyphosate-tolerant GMO corn variety by Monsanto, the second time in a month that U.S. biotech strains have been cleared for import, said Reuters.
Arkansas panel approves fines up to $25,000 for dicamba misuse
The bicameral Arkansas Legislative Council approved an emergency rule allowing fines of up to $25,000 for "egregious" misuse of the weedkiller dicamba, the object of 550 complaints of crop damage, says KUAR-FM in Little Rock. The council, sometimes called the Legislature's most powerful committee because it oversees the executive branch of state government, is expected to decide on Friday whether to ban use of dicamba on cotton and soybeans for the rest of the growing season.