Digest – News: GM corn could harm river ecosystems, microwaveable food safety, conservation coalition

Whoopsy, guess we forgot to test for that: An Indiana University study suggests that Bt corn, the widely planted genetically engineered corn, could harm aquatic ecosystems by killing insects that fish commonly feed on. The study also shows that parts of Bt corn can travel as far as 2,000 meters away from source areas — "a phenomenon that was not considered when Bt corn was licensed." (ScienceDaily)

starJust nuke it: Andrew Martin covers how preposterous it is for ConAgra, maker of salmonella-laced pot pies, and other frozen-food manufacturers to expect consumers to know how their microwave’s power compares with others so as to ascertain whether a frozen dinner is "done." (New York Times)

Let’s back up conservation with bucks: Over 20 farm and environmental groups wrote a letter to the Senate leadership warning that the Food and Farm Bill’s planned conservation spending falls short. Huge numbers of farmers are ready to initiate conservation programs, but funding has been lacking, typically because Congress appropriates less money than the bill authorizes. The groups encourage the Senate to go beyond the House’s $4.5 billion funding increase. (American Farmland Trust)

Cloned-food labels terminated in Cali: The Governator is sifting through hundreds of bills passed by the California legislature, and so far, he’s been both naughty, vetoing a bill that would require that food from cloned animals or their progeny be labeled, and nice — requiring bottled-water labels to include the source of the water, and eliminating trans fats from food sold in schools through vending machines or private contractors. (L.A . Times)

The import-ance of being earnest: The FDA and the Chinese government are in talks to create new agreements on food safety. Senator Durbin argues that to recover U.S. consumer conference the "Chinese have to prove they’re going to change their system." When were consumers ever paying attention enough to be confident? And where are the plans to change the U.S. system to regain consumer trust after all these food recalls? (Washington Post)

First our waistlines, now it’s after our water: A new report from the National Research Council says that if corn’s use keeps increasing for ethanol, the harm to water quality could be considerable, and there could be water supply problems at the regional and local levels. (National Academies Press Release)

starJust because we eat them doesn’t make them just protein: Activists are suing to overturn New Jersey’s three-year-old animal treatment standards, which they argue could set a national precedent for permitting animal cruelty rather than preventing it. AP reporter Linda A. Johnson does an excellent job of presenting the big picture of factory farming. (AP)

Feed them ’til they die: 12 Indiana cattle died inexplicably recently, and bluetongue disease was feared. Turns out they ate too many soybeans and actually died from rumen acidosis, the ailment that afflicts all grainfed cattle to some degree, as corn and soy are not their natuaral diet (as is discussed in the new documentary "King Corn"). (Brownfield Network)

World Bank has long neglected African farming, says stern internal study (New York Times)

J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 79 tons of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam’s Choice" labels (Reuters)

212,000 horses starving around the U.S. (Brownfield Network)

2 Responsesto “Digest – News: GM corn could harm river ecosystems, microwaveable food safety, conservation coalition”

  1. Christina says:

    What a happy day for me finding this site! I’m looking forward to brows through your archives.

    About this post: It’s gonna be mighty interesting to see how the ethanol solution to fuel issues will turn out. I have a feeling it will backfire and again, there we are with a not-so-well-thought-of investment.

  2. Sara says:

    I support Arnie’s veto of the cloned label bill, not on principle, but on practicality. The bill would require every animal that went into all meat and meat products in California be traceable to both parents. The effects would actually have harmed much of California’s consumer base–leaving those without access to locally raised produce with severely limited or significantly more expensive meat. Given the problems with poor nutrition and obesity in our inner-city and lower-income population, the last thing we need to do is make it harder for them to get good food!