Croatia—Rice-based foods, particularly rice drinks and cereals, may present a danger to infants and small children, said a group of doctors in a recent journal publication. Rice, due to its genetic makeup and the methods used to grow it, is thought to absorb arsenic from the environment in amounts higher than other plants.
New York, NY—The Specialty Food Association, based here, has created a foundation with the goal of relieving hunger and improving food recovery efforts. The new Specialty Food Foundation, which has applied for 501(c) 3 non-profit status, will use grants, education and special industry events to pursue its mission.
Montpelier, VT—As it gets set to develop rules concerning genetically modified food (GMO) labeling, Vermont has asked its citizens to weigh in. The state’s Attorney General, William Sorrell, announced preliminary results from the over 2,200 responses to a questionnaire his office issued in June. The survey asked people how they thought the nation’s first mandatory GMO labeling law, which Vermont passed in May, should be implemented.
New York—A bustling Summer Fancy Food Show, hosted by the Specialty Food Association at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City for the second straight year, featured over 2,730 exhibitors from 49 countries. The show, held June 29–July 1, was expected to host 28,000 buyers.
Burlington, VT— As expected, Vermont’s passage of a law requiring genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food to be labeled has been followed by a lawsuit. The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers have collectively sued the state in federal court, alleging that the new law is unconstitutional.
Harvard, MA—Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticide, are harmful to honey bee colonies during winter months, according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. This study strengthens previous findings associating insecticide use with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a term used to describe the recent widespread disappearance of honey bee colonies.
Washington, D.C.—In what is being called a “historic investment,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making $78 million available annually for the development of regional and local food systems. The operations eligible to receive funds include food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services and other local food business enterprises.
The organic food industry achieved its fastest growth rate in five years in 2013, says a new survey from the Organic Trade Association (OTA). An 11.5% jump saw the industry reach $35.1 billion in sales, up from $31.5 billion in 2012. The growth is set to continue, according to OTA, as the Organic Industry Survey projects that this rate will at least be matched and possibly exceeded over the next two years.