The motivation for North Dakota farmer Jack Bruns to dig into the niche market for non-GMO soybeans is the same as every farmer when it comes to selecting seeds: "To make more money," says Marketplace. "But they're a lot trickier to manage," with hurdles ranging from weed control and preventing cross-contamination from biotech beans to presenting a spotless product to the buyer.
In the 20 years since GMO crops were approved for cultivation, U.S. farmers have embraced them almost to exclusion of other seeds while Europe has steadily refused to let them into its fields. The New York Times says its "extensive examination" of U.S. and European farming found that genetic engineering "has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides."
Clover Storenetta Farms, based in northern California, "will become the first major dairy in the United States to sell non-GMO conventional milk," says the San Francisco Chronicle. "With its newest product, Clover is betting that there is also a market for conventional milk produced without GMOs that is cheaper than organic milk."
Six U.S. farm groups challenged Dannon USA's pledge to switch to non-GMO ingredients in its yogurt as "the exact opposite of the sustainable agriculture you claim to the seeking." The chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation, Randy Mooney, said, "This is just marketing puffery, not any true innovation that improves the actual product offered to consumers."
In a new report, the Organic Seed Alliance says an increase in private and public investment in organic breeding and non-GMO research is needed to increase the number of farmers who use organic seed. The investment should make boosting seed variety during breeding trials a priority.
Nearly half of U.S. cropland is planted with genetically engineered crops, say four USDA analysts, but the risk of cross-contamination of organic and non-GMO crops may rise with the approval of genetically modified apples and potatoes.
The agriculture minister of Western Australia is moving to repeal the state's GM Crop Free Areas Act with repeal by the state Parliament almost certain, says Australia's ABC News. Agriculture Minister Ken Baston planned to introduce the repeal legislation on Thursday, "a move which pro-GM advocates said would safeguard the industry's future."
As sales of non-GMO foods zoom, competitors are watching, says the NPR blog The Salt. "The demand for these foods falls under what the industry calls the 'health halo,' the perception that a food is healthy," even if they might not be.
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.
A bill to prevent states from requiring labels on foods made with genetically modified organisms could allow GMO foods to be marketed as "natural," opponents claimed ahead of a committee vote scheduled for today on the bill.
Opponents will get one clear chance during House debate to torpedo a Republican-backed bill that would pre-empt state laws that require special labels on food made with genetically modified organisms, the Rules Committee decided on a party-line vote.
With a floor vote near, the leaders of the House Agriculture Committee say a bill to bar states from requiring labels on foods made with genetically modified foods is targeted in its scope.
The Agriculture Department has the experience to oversee a voluntary system for labeling non-GMO foods, leaders of the House Agriculture Committee said after a review of the department's Process Verified Program. Creation of a voluntary labeling system for food made without genetically modified organisms is a key element of a House bill to pre-empt states from requiring special labels on GMO foods.
Seventeen lawmakers signed as co-sponsors to the Pompeo-Butterfield bill in the House to pre-empt state labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms. Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican, told reporters he's spent a lot of time talking to senators about the legislation, a broader-reaching bill than his 2014 version. "We just have to find the right path forward," he said, which means finding well-positioned sponsors who could help steer the bill through committee approval to a floor vote.
U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss ruled that Vermont can proceed with its first-in-the-nation law requiring special labels on food made with genetically modified organisms. The law takes effect on July 1, 2016. Foodmakers sued to block the law shortly after it was passed last year, and requested an injunction against implementation of the law while the suit was being decided.
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.
Snowville Creamery is a small operation with big ideas and run by a career dairyman, says Civil Eats. Says owner Warren Taylor, “I built a creamery to prove that we can produce good high quality, good tasting milk for everybody in America.”
The lion's share of U.S. corn, soybeans and cotton sprouts from genetically engineered seed, according to an annual USDA survey of growers.
1. Environmental Working Group produces a GMO-free food guide. In a nutshell, it says, buy organic or verified GMO-free foods and steer away from food made with corn, soybeans, sugar and vegetable oils because most of the US supply comes from biotech crops.