Agriculture

Final U.S. decision expected on food from clones
January 15, 2008 10:11 AM - Reuters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a final ruling on Tuesday that food from cloned animals and their offspring is as safe as any other, opening the door to the controversial technology in the U.S. food supply. The FDA will brief reporters at 12 noon EST on the final risk assessment on animal clones.

Sierra Leone bans timber exports
January 14, 2008 10:22 AM - Reuters

Sierra Leone's government has banned the exportation of timber after "indiscriminate destruction" by Chinese and other foreign businessmen, a senior official said on Monday. Hassan Mohammed, deputy director of the forestry ministry, said Chinese loggers had wreaked havoc in the savannahs of northern Sierra Leone by chopping down fire-resistant trees for export.

Will Current Organic Standards Save us from GMO Contamination?
January 14, 2008 09:34 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Widespread development and use of organic standards began in the 1980's to safeguard and systematize an alternative way (organic) of agriculture and handling food. Among a detailed list of prohibited substances in organic systems are chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Because the organic system recognized from the start that it would likely remain a small component of agriculture, and that contamination would inevitably happen through background pollution such as polluted water, air and drift, it proposed a system based on a "practice standard," rather than on measuring the purity of an end product.

Biofuel impact on farm prices overplayed
January 14, 2008 08:42 AM - Reuters

The recent price rally in farm commodities such as grains, oilseeds and sugar beet can be attributed partly to higher biofuel demand but their share of the blame has been exaggerated, a top official of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Loek Boonekamp, a division head in the Agro-food Trade and Markets Division at the Paris-based OECD, said the surge in farm product prices -- with cereals more than doubling last year -- would have happened even without the rise in biofuel production.

Biotech companies race for drought-tolerant crops
January 14, 2008 05:21 AM - Reuters

Outside the headquarters of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc, the pavement is iced over and workers arriving for the day are bundled up against the cold. But inside a laboratory, a warm, man-made drought is in force, curling the leaves of rows of fledgling corn plants as million-dollar machines and scientists in white coats monitor their distress.

Asian biodiesel plants sit idle as costs soar
January 14, 2008 04:37 AM - Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - For many of southeast Asia's struggling biofuel makers, the global debate over using crops for food or as transport fuel is irrelevant -- a surge in palm oil prices has brought the industry to a standstill. Even oil prices at $100 a barrel aren't helping companies who have invested tens of millions of dollars into plants that convert Indonesian or Malaysian palm oil into near zero-pollution diesel -- at a cost some 30 percent higher than regular diesel.

France says extends ban on GMO crop
January 11, 2008 05:00 PM - Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - France will activate a safeguard clause that will effectively prohibit growing the sole genetically modified (GMO) crop grown in France, Prime Minister Francois Fillon's office said in a statement on Friday. Last month, France, pressured by consumers, suspended the commercial use of MON 810, a maize developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, in order to look into the environmental and health implications of its use.

Be wary of biotech lettuce experiments
January 11, 2008 09:50 AM - GM Watch.org

The Salinas Californian recently reported on a talk by Professor Henry Daniell, who was here to promote cultivation of drug-producing lettuce. The biotechnology industry has long hoped to use plants, including common food crops, to produce high-profit new drugs. It is worth noting that Daniell is not only an academic; he is also the founder of Chlorogen, Inc., a company that hopes to profit from these so-called 'pharm' crops.

Cloning-for-food growth seen slow if FDA approves
January 10, 2008 12:30 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Regulatory approval could catalyze the nascent U.S. cloning industry, but leading firms say growth would come slowly as they battle to win consumers over to the concept of food from cloned animals.

Brazil sees sharp farm growth, despite environment
January 10, 2008 06:35 AM - Reuters

Brazil's farm sector will grow rapidly over the next decade and double some of its leading exports despite concerns over Amazon destruction and farmers' debt, the government said on Wednesday. Critics say Brazil's rapidly expanding agricultural frontier has helped push farmers and loggers deeper into the world's largest rain forest, increasing destruction.

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