Digest: Cloning profits, Whole Foods fan, GMO arms race

Cloning end game: Buried in this recap of the FDA’s proposed ruling on the safety of food from cloned animals are a few eyebrow raisers. One: ViaGen, the leader in animal cloning, has yet to make a profit — but its parent company is confident that will change “once the FDA approves cloned food.” Two: ViaGen expects cloning to capture 10% of the U.S. dairy and beef markets and 50% of the pork market — ViaGen already has an agreement for “genetic research” with Smithfield Foods. (Bloomberg) Got an opinion on whether a little thing like safeguarding public health should stand in the way of corporate profit? The FDA’s comment period on cloned food will close this Thursday, March 29; the Center for Food Safety has a one-click way to send your thoughts to the agency, as well as to support the proposed bill to label such food. We’re not sure how much attention representatives actually pay to coordinated e-mail campaigns, so consider giving yours a personal call as well. As ViaGen’s CEO says, “If you choose to believe that this is not a good technology for anybody to be using, that’s great, that’s your choice. I just want you to be able to make that based on fact and science, not on science fiction.” Facts aside, without labeling of cloned food, consumers will have no choice at all.

Whole Foods cult gets new convert: The Guardian takes a gander at a Whole Foods Market in Austin and falls droolingly in love — “Quite simply, they are the most gorgeous supermarkets I have ever seen.” Still, it manages to be a fair and balanced portrait of the retailer who’s first UK store will be opening soon in London. The Guardian (UK)

Treadmill blues: Andrew Leonard on how the rush to create better biofuels has sped up the arms race between genetically modified seeds and the pests they’re designed to resist. Salon

Unofficial pet death toll much higher: The Veterinarians Information Network said members had reported 471 cases of kidney failure, including 104 deaths, since Canada-based Menu Foods announced its pet food recall. Menu Foods has received 200,000 calls from consumers. (L.A. Times) Around the U.S., discussion about alternative pet diets is rampant.

Tapping into a trend: Vermont’s maple-syrup industry is feeling the heat from climate change. (ABC News) This Burlington Free Press story, however, says business is booming and syrup owners aren’t worried.

Bt no more: Shepherds and goatherds from 12 districts in India staged a protest that grazing on genetically modified cottonseed is killing their livestock. NDTVProfit.com

The agony and the eggstasy: A piece on decoding egg-carton labels, including Certified Humane and Certified Organic. Guess which of these allows debeaking of chickens and forced molting? Mother Earth News

No one is biting on our phrase the Dietgeist: Marian Nestle says in a Q&A that there’s a Food Social Movement afoot around the U.S. Culinate

It’s about biodiversity, stupid: Salon reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is secretly maneuvering to gut the Endangered Species Act in some pretty enraging ways. Salon

Omer god: An entertaining profile of a Minneapolis chef with bipolar disorder and a zest for cooking – and life — on the edge. Salon

More sex, drugs, and really good food: A roundup of some of the juiciest gossip in Thomas McNamee’s new biography, “Alice Waters and Chez Panisse.” Reuters

Recycled fuel: In case you missed its first appearance in the Star-Tribune a few weeks ago, two Minnesota scientists reuse their thought-provoking op-ed about why corn-based ethanol is a bad idea, environmentally, and relying on native prairie grasses to produce biofuels is a much better one. Washington Post

An impassioned plea for a five-year moratorium on biofuels (Guardian UK)

The ethanol industry is advertising directly to consumers, via auto racing (Des Moines Register)

USDA proposes spending $2.8 billion more on fruits and veggies for its food and nutrition programs (Prairie Farmer)

Jane Brody on the nutritional aspects of beverages (New York Times)

The National Catholic Rural Life Conference opposes cloned food — and many factory farming practices (St. Louis Review)

One Responseto “Digest: Cloning profits, Whole Foods fan, GMO arms race”

  1. Jane says:

    About half the sources for the fourth story are citing the Veterinary Information Network (which is what their website says, as well). I’m guess the LA Times (et al) got it wrong… (Minor point, I know.)