Digest – Features: transgenic animal rules, shrimp seeking sustainability

starDNA deliberations: Although transgenic corn, soy and cotton cover the nation, rules governing transgenic animals have yet to be developed. The FDA has not committed to a date for a set of rules, but seems to be narrowing its focus. The uncertainty is a problem for ‘breeders’ of transgenic animals, like the company with a salmon that grows twice as fast as a wild salmon, or a pig that more fully digests phosphorous, leading to ‘cleaner’ manure. But even if the FDA develops the perfect rule, will the public want transgenic meat? And will it even be labeled as transgenic? (New York Times)

Big changes for shrimp: Major buyers like Wal-Mart and the operator of Red Lobster are requiring better environmental practices by their shrimp suppliers in Thailand (the U.S.’s largest shrimp supplier), such as treating water before returning it to rivers and replanting mangrove trees. Wal-Mart buys 3.4% of the shrimp imported into the U.S. Small producers worry that they won’t be able to afford the upgrades or certification fees. Others predict that the new requirements will lead to greater consolidation of the industry. (Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)

20,000 gardens available: Whereas many cities have long waiting lists for community gardening plots, the City of Detroit owns 20,000 parcels of land that are available for use as gardens at no cost. Many of those with gardens grow for personal use only, but almost fifty are becoming commercial growers. Among their customers is the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, which now buys about 70 percent of its food from local growers. (Detroit Free Press)

Coming soon, certified organic cheesehead hats: In the last five years, the number of certified organic farms in Wisconsin has almost doubled, going from 422 to 807. Gov. Jim Doyle attended the opening of a distribution center for organic products, lavished praise on the organic movement, and announced some research initiatives to help organic farming in Wisconsin. (The Janesville Gazette)

Old soy ways: A short audio profile of the San Jose tofu company, a firm that follows old traditions. Streaming audio available here or download this MP3 file. (The California Report on KQED)

Chef Dan Barber talks about the farm bill, sustainability, comfort food, and more (Gothamist)

Grist highlights fifteen green chefs from four continents (Grist)

Local foods around Washington, D.C. (Washington Post)

Chemical warfare in the cabbage patch (New York Times)

Your ice cream preferences and your personality (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Zucchini extravaganza (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Biofuel bashing by environmentalists, economist, and anti-poverty activists (Christian Science Monitor)

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