Agriculture

Controversy Over GMO Corn Approval In Brazil
August 22, 2007 09:51 AM - Luisa Massarani, SciDevNet

Brazil's biosafety committee has approved two sets of guidelines governing the use of genetically modified (GM) corn, despite criticism from within its ranks. The Brazilian National Biosafety Technical Committee (CTNBio), which oversees the use of GM organisms in the country, last week (16 August) approved plans for monitoring and coexistence.

USDA to give $5.5 million to study E. coli in produce
August 22, 2007 09:34 AM - Reuters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will held support new research on keeping fresh produce safe from deadly bacteria, officials said on Tuesday.

Organic Farmers Suffer Extensive Crop Damage after Flooding in Wisconsin, Minnesota
August 22, 2007 07:08 AM - Colin Fly, Associated Press

The damage from this week's floods could push some of Wisconsin's organic farmers out of business and affect the price of organic products nationwide. Only California has more certified organic farms than Wisconsin, and more than a third of the Badger State's 994 organic farms are in the five counties where rivers and streams overflowed.

Consumers Torn Between Buying Local and Buying Organic Food
August 21, 2007 06:19 PM - PRleap.com

In a recent study by Mambo Sprouts Mambo Track(tm) research services, when it comes to their grocery dollars, consumers are torn between buying local and buying organic food.

Imported Foods Concern Food Safety Experts
August 21, 2007 02:11 PM - University of Georgia

A University of Georgia expert says the challenges in ensuring a safe U.S. food supply will continue to grow to unprecedented heights unless solutions are provided quickly. "Although most foods Americans eat are safe, with odds of greater than 1 in 1 million of becoming hospitalized from a serving of food, the dynamics of the U.S. food system are rapidly changing," said Michael Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety. "Consumers are much more vulnerable now to large episodes of foodborne illnesses."

Russia Bans Italian Poultry to Stop Bird Flu
August 21, 2007 01:31 PM - Reuters

Russia banned poultry imports from Italy from Monday to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus after outbreaks in the EU member state, but Italy said the strain was not dangerous and the ban impact was negligible.

UK Asks Farmers To Help Improve Water Quality
August 21, 2007 01:06 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

London - Britian's government news agency asked farmers to help improve water quality by making changes to their farming practices to provide a "base line of protection for waters from nitrate and phosphate pollution." The government wants to reduce nitrogen from manure and fertiliser getting into surface or groundwater.

USDA Denies Dequest to Delay Almond Pasteurization Rule; Provision to Take Effect September 1
August 21, 2007 07:00 AM - Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press

A new rule requiring all California almonds to be pasteurized will go into effect Sept. 1, despite farmers' requests to postpone the provision for six months, federal agricultural officials said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to implement the rule stemmed from salmonella outbreaks in 2001 and 2004 that were traced to raw almonds.

Rubbish Heaps Helped Crops Evolve
August 20, 2007 10:53 PM - Oxford University

Rubbish heaps and backyard gardens helped early farmers domesticate crop plants, according to Oxford University scientists. Their research confirms that seeds and fruits gathered in the wild and then discarded or planted at home created a ”˜backyard melting pot’ that gave rise to novel hybrids. Ancient people were quick to spot useful hybrids and start growing them as crops as the first village farms were established, around 4,000 years ago.

Palm Oil Not A Field Of Dreams For All Indonesians
August 20, 2007 06:01 PM - Fitri Wulandari and Lewa Pardomuan, Reuters

Palm oil prices might be going through the roof and making investors and businessmen rich, but the soaring prices have not improved the lot of pickers and locals working on the fringes of the palm oil industry. On the island of Sumatra, one of the main palm oil-growing islands in Indonesia, the world's second-largest producer after Malaysia, 52-year-old Minah salvages unspoilt fruit from partly rotten palm branch that have fallen to the ground.

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