U.S. Senate Starts Debate on Voluntary GMO Labeling Bill

by  Sustainable  Food  News, March  15,  2016

The  U.S.  Senate  on  Monday  proceeded  to  a  floor  debate  on  legislation  that  would  establish  a  ScaryGMOvoluntary  labeling  system  for  foods  made  with  genetically modified  organisms  (GMOs)  and  prohibit  states  from  enacting  their  own  labeling  laws.

Sen.  Pat  Roberts  (R-­Kan.),  chairman  of  the  Senate  Agriculture  Committee,  filed  on  Monday  a  new  version  of  his  bill  (S.2609),  which  was  approved  by the  committee  on  March  1.

The  new  version  of  the  bill  was  submitted  Monday  as  an  amendment  (SA3450)  to  the  Defund  Planned  Parenthood  Act  of  2015  (S.764),  which  will  be considered  on  the  Senate  floor  Tuesday  morning.  Votes  on  the  legislation  are  expected  as  early  as  Wednesday.

The  amendment  contains  substitute  language  aimed  at  satisfying  some  members’  concerns  over  the  need  for  more  robust  disclosure  of  GMOs  on  food packaging.

First,  it  allows  food  manufacturers  to  label  foods,  if  they  so  chose,  with  “scannable  images  or  codes”  that  “clearly  indicates  to  consumers  that  more information  is  available  about  the  ingredients  of  the  food.”

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U.S. Senate starts debate on voluntary GMO labeling bill

 

U.S. Organic Trade Group Lists 2015’s Top 10 Milestones

By Sustainable Food News December 28, 2015

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The  Organic  Trade  Association  (OTA)  on  Monday  released  its  top  10  milestones  for  2015, including  the  drive  for  an  organic  research  and  promotion  check-­off  program.

The  top  10  organic  developments  in  2015:

1)  Organic  sales  boomed.  OTA’s  2015  Organic  Industry  Survey  showed  organic  sales  in  the U.S.  in  2014  reaching  a  new  record  of  $39.1  billion.  Organic  food  sales  hit  $35.9  billion,  up  11 percent  from  the  previous  year.  Sales  of  organic  non-­food  products  shot  up  14  percent  to  $3.2

billion.  Organic  food  sales  made  up  nearly  5  percent  of  all  U.S.  food  sales,  and  for  the  first  time  traditional  retailers  sold  50  percent  of  the  total volume  of  organic  products.  Online,  the  number  of  shoppers  buying  organic  doubled.  Eating  out,  organic  lovers  found  organic  on  the  menus  of their  favorite  casual  and  even  fast-­food  restaurants.

2)  Organic  industry  moved  forward  on  a  trail-­blazing  organic  check-­off.  In  a  ground-­breaking  move  for  the  nation’s  organic  sector,  OTA petitioned  the  U.S.  Department  of  Agriculture  to  begin  steps  to  conduct  a  vote  on  an  organic  research  and  promotion  check-­off  program.  The action  reflected  three  years  of  dialogue  with  the  organic  sector  to  craft  a  check-­off  tailor-­made  for  organic.  The  move  to  collectively  invest  in  its future  represented  a  game-­changing  move  by  organic  stakeholders,  and  would  enable  the  sector  to  raise  funds  to  boost  organic  research, promote  the  organic  brand,  and  increase  organic  acreage  in  the  United  States.

3)  Organic  standards  were  tightened  and  improved.  In  a  four-­day  public  meeting  in  the  fall,  the  National  Organic  Standards  Board  (NOSB) recommended  the  removal  of  an  unprecedented  eleven  materials  from  organic’s  National  List  of  Allowed  and  Prohibited  Substances.  NOSB’s action  reflected  the  innovations  made  in  organic  practices  that  have  enabled  the  use  of  fewer  and  fewer  synthetic  inputs.  Once  the recommendations  are  approved  by  the  National  Organic  Program,  these  materials  will  no  longer  be  allowed  in  producing,  processing  or handling  organic  food.

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U.S. Organic Trade Group Lists 2015’s Top 10 milestones