New York, NY—It’s a good time to sell natural and organic foods. According to market research firm Packaged Facts, U.S. retailers sold nearly $39 billion worth of natural and organic foods and drinks in 2010.
Geneva, Switzerland—Following the U.S. delegation’s decision to drop its longstanding opposition to the concept, an official guidance on the labeling of products containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) was adopted at the annual Codex Alimentarius summit.
Little Rock, AR—The historic floods that moved through the Mississippi Delta region recently had wide-ranging, often devastating effects on agriculture, according to reports. These effects are probably related to the worsening of other economic conditions; damaged or postponed crop plantings have meant lost jobs on farms and a further uptick in food prices already trending high.
Washington, D.C.—An interagency Working Group led by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come out with voluntary guidelines that would limit advertising aimed at children for foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. The proposals state that food advertising should promote healthy dietary choices in children, as well.
With a stated goal of confronting food and agriculture policy issues in the face of global uncertainty, an initiative called AGree was launched recently by a broad-based coalition of leading industry figures. Citing challenges like a rapidly increasing global population, limited arable land, pressure on fresh water quality and availability and environmental degradation, the initiative’s organizers say this is a pivotal time to be addressing policy issues.
Washington, D.C.—In an effort to stem the wastefulness and risks to consumer health associated with meat product recalls, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has initiated a new rule that will prevent meat processors from shipping to stores until safety tests are returned.
Newark, DE—While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) develops its own produce tracing program as is now required by law, a program already established by several produce industry groups, the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), is forging ahead with its own “track-and-trace” system.
At the April 26–29 meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in Seattle, WA, committee members planned to consider various proposals that would have a major impact on how the National Organic Program is run. One proposal that could prove contentious is for the allowance of synthetic materials in organic products, without prior safety review by FDA or approval by USDA.