Bayer abandons key provision in glyphosate settlement plan

Two weeks after agreeing to pay up to $9.6 billion to resolve thousands of cancer lawsuits against glyphosate, seed and ag-chemical giant Bayer is still looking for a way to handle future litigation against the weedkiller. A proposal to appoint a panel of experts to decide if glyphosate is carcinogenic — a pivotal question for cases filed in coming years — died on Wednesday following criticism from the federal judge handling the lawsuits.

Bayer to pay up to $11.3 billion to resolve glyphosate, dicamba litigation

Under the terms of an agreement announced Wednesday, seed and agribusiness giant Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve lawsuits that accuse its Roundup herbicide of causing cancer, and an additional $400 million to settle litigation claiming crop damage caused by its dicamba weedkiller from 2015 to 2020.

New USDA regulation waives review of many biotech plants

Three decades into the agricultural biotechnology era, the USDA said on Thursday that it will exempt genetically engineered plants from pre-market reviews if they are unlikely to pose an environmental risk. Opponents of the move said it means "a majority of genetically engineered and gene-edited plants will now escape any oversight" by the USDA.

More coronavirus tests, broadband needed in rural America, say Senate Democrats

Covid-19 cases have been reported in more than two-thirds of rural counties, said a report by Senate Democrats, who called for nationwide rapid-response testing for the coronavirus and for expansion of high-speed internet to maintain commerce and healthcare in rural areas. (No paywall)

Even as food sellers comply with stricter health rules, workers push for more protections

Cities and states across the country are pushing farmers' markets and grocery stores to enhance their public health measures after officials found some initial attempts at social distancing policies lacking. Yet grocery workers say that in order to effectively prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep themselves healthy, they need more protections and benefits. (No paywall)

FDA eases nutrition labeling rules for restaurants clearing inventory

To facilitate the distribution of food during the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants and food manufacturers will be temporarily allowed to sell packages of food that lack the Nutrition Facts label normally required for retail sale, said the FDA on Thursday. (No paywall)

FDA mulls ‘risk-based’ approach to CBD products

Americans are consuming the cannabis derivative cannabidiol (CBD) in food, beverages, and supplements, and dosing their pets with it as well, but "there is still much that we do not know about ... potential risks," said FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn on Thursday.

Texas Panhandle community chokes on fecal dust from feedlots

Cattle outnumber people 40 to one in Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle, giving the county seat of Hereford its title as the "beef capital of the world." But the area is also a hotspot of citizen complaints about manure dust storms created when fierce winds hit feedlots housing tens of thousands of animals, according to FERN's latest story, written by Chris Collins and produced in collaboration with The Texas Observer and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.(No paywall)

Nearing end of review, EPA finds no risk to human health from glyphosate

Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, poses no threat to human health when used as directed and is unlikely to cause cancer, said the EPA in an interim decision on Thursday. Environmental groups denounced the decision as faulty.

As the Salton Sea shrinks, a toxic mess looms

The Salton Sea, the largest lake in California, is drying up, revealing a bed packed with toxic chemicals, the residue of a century of runoff from Imperial Valley farms. Public-health experts worry that those chemicals pose a grave risk to the health of people who live nearby, mostly farmworkers, the elderly and families too poor to relocate, as Lindsay Fendt reports in FERN's latest story, published with The Weather Channel. (No paywall)