Washington, D.C.—Two new sets of research, one from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and another from Consumer Reports, indicate levels of arsenic, a known carcinogen, in some rice and rice products grown in the United States that exceed five parts per billion (ppb). The five ppb safe exposure standard for arsenic in food has been proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is the level required for drinking water in New Jersey, the strictest in the nation.
Washington, D.C.—Two of the major forces in the organic agriculture and products industry will now merge together under one roof. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will assume administrative responsibilities for The Organic Center, which will move its headquarters here from Boulder, CO. The Organic Center has traditionally been a scientific voice for the merits of organic agriculture, while the OTA serves its members by advocating for the values, benefits and regulatory standing of organic products in the media and in government.
Before the ballots open on California Prop. 37 on November 6, there are numerous factors and perspectives with which to be familiar. The fate of the proposition that would mandate labeling in the state on all food products containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is in the hands of voters. The result will likely carry policy implications for the rest of the country, and has the potential to make an immediate impact on the entire food industry due to the size California’s consumer base.
Hershey, PA—A coalition of independent natural food stores and co-ops, along with several human rights and consumer groups, has sent an open letter to The Hershey Company, urging it to make a substantially larger commitment to relying upon ethically-sourced, Fair Trade cocoa for its chocolate products. The letter comes in the context of reports that illegal and often forced child labor is a major issue with overseas cocoa production.
Forward momentum for the U.S. farm bill, the agricultural policy legislation up for renewal in 2012 after its latest five-year run, has stalled in the House of Representatives. After the Senate passed its version of the bill in June, the House Agriculture Committee submitted its proposal to the House. But disagreement over key elements related to farm subsidies and food stamps saw legislators focus instead on providing immediate economic assistance to farmers hit hard by recent drought conditions.
Saskatoon, SK, Canada—A Canadian study found little link between beverage drinking habits and cases of overweight and obesity in children. Using data from a national health survey, the researchers analyzed over 10,000 Canadian children aged 2–18.