USDA releases controversial GMO food label prototypes

May 21, 2018 by  
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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently unveiled label prototypes for food with genetically modified ingredients . The fight for labels was controversial, but in 2016, Congress passed a bill in favor of required labeling. Now, the proposed label designs are also facing controversy. “I mean, they look like a little smiley face,” said George Kimbrell , legal director of the  Center for Food Safety . “They’re very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting information but instead are essentially propaganda for the industry.” The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard will increase the transparency of our nation’s food system & give consumers uniform information about the bioengineered status of their foods – learn how you can provide input https://t.co/0wmR15Mkpr pic.twitter.com/qZ6hR0Jorc — USDA Ag Mktg Service (@USDA_AMS) May 9, 2018 The USDA has been working for a while to develop a mandatory national system for cluing consumers in to the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food — and a request for feedback garnered 112,000 responses from farmers, manufacturers and consumers. Now, the department is  asking for comments on its  proposed rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard . Related: Genetically engineered apples that never brown are hitting store shelves next year Many of the proposed labels feature bright colors like yellow or green and include images like suns or plants. They all have the letters BE, which stands for bioengineered . Critics complain that term is unfamiliar to American shoppers, who tend to be more familiar with terms like GMO or genetically engineered . NPR pointed out that some products in supermarkets already have a non-GMO label; Kimbrell said it’s “misleading and confusing” to “now switch that up and use a totally different term, bioengineered, that has not been the standard commonplace nomenclature for all of this time.” In 2016 , the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine  analyzed more than 900 research papers and found that scientists have not uncovered hard evidence that genetically engineered crops are worse for people to eat than other crops. Still, many consumers want labels. People have until July 3, 2018 to provide comments on the proposed labels. To submit a comment, visit the Regulations.gov website . + USDA + BE Disclosure and Labeling Via NPR Image via Depositphotos

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USDA releases controversial GMO food label prototypes

How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates

March 17, 2018 by  
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The transgenic technology that produces fast-growing fish soon could come to the U.S. Will it live up to its claims of making seafood more sustainable?

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How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates

How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates

March 17, 2018 by  
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The transgenic technology that produces fast-growing fish soon could come to the U.S. Will it live up to its claims of making seafood more sustainable?

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How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates

How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates

March 17, 2018 by  
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The transgenic technology that produces fast-growing fish soon could come to the U.S. Will it live up to its claims of making seafood more sustainable?

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How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates

This Arctic Apple has been genetically engineered to never brown

October 16, 2017 by  
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The Arctic Apple, a variety of fruit that has been genetically engineered to never brown, even when cut into pieces, may be coming to a grocery store near you. The fruit was first envisioned as a means to increase apple consumption among picky consumers while decreasing food waste. “There’s an awful lot of apples that go to waste,” said Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which designed the Arctic Apple. “We were looking for ways to rebrand apples to make them more convenient.” Starting in November, the Arctic Apple will be sold in approximately 400 supermarkets throughout the United States . Carter estimates that this year’s harvest of 180 pounds of apples will be on the market for about 12 weeks; the first variety of Arctic Apple available will be Golden Delicious, followed by Granny Smith in 2018. Okanagan hopes that this novel approach will catch on among the fruit-consuming public “We’ve seen apple consumption decline on a per capita basis over the last few decades, because they’re not seen as convenient,” said Carter. “When they started selling cut baby carrots, it more than doubled consumption.” Just like baby carrots , the Arctic Apple will be sold pre-sliced. Related: 5 Mouthwatering plant-based fall recipes Apple flesh begins to turn brown when it’s cut or bruised because of enzymes that turn copper upon oxidation. Although the bite-sized, forever-unblemished Arctic Apple may appeal to those who can’t stand to see an apple “go bad,” its status as a GMO may turn off some concerned consumers. “There are certainly people against what we do,” said Carter. “But there are less people against it than two years ago or five years ago. Once people experience the apple, generally they say, ‘Hey this is just an apple.’” Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia and Okanagan Specialty Fruit

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This Arctic Apple has been genetically engineered to never brown

When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

August 9, 2017 by  
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CRISPR gene editing can fight crop disease far more benignly than conventional practices.

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When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

To feed 9 billion, will we need ‘GMO 2.0’?

June 28, 2017 by  
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The directors of the new documentary, “Food Evolution,” share an inconvenient truth: For safe, sustainable food, we may have to turn to GMOs.

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To feed 9 billion, will we need ‘GMO 2.0’?

Why mobility tech could be $600 billion boon for cities

June 28, 2017 by  
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From the way we use land to the emissions from public and private transit, an upheaval in transportation tech has big implications.

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Why mobility tech could be $600 billion boon for cities

Bayer’s proposed $66B Monsanto takeover renews call for monopoly investigation

September 15, 2016 by  
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With little warning, Germany chemical giant Bayer made a bid to take over U.S.-based Monsanto for $66 billion. Together, the fused companies would create the world’s largest seed and pesticide company, which many argue would equate to a monopoly. The U.S. Department of Justice has already investigated Monsanto’s monopoly over the nationwide market, and the merger will most certainly give the company more influence over agriculture than it has ever had before—a terrifying thought. Monsanto has been the subject of heated debates at all levels, from public meetings in community centers to the federal level. The company’s top-selling product, RoundUp, contains glyphosate as its active ingredient, which has been linked to cancer, respiratory ailments, and autism. Glyphosate is already banned or highly restricted in Europe and other parts of the world, but regulators in the U.S. have failed to act swiftly, in part due to the heavy influence of Monsanto. The pesticide maker has also lobbied widely and even filed lawsuits to block GMO labeling and bury the World Health Organization’s report on glyphosate as a carcinogen . For years, environmentalists and health advocates have been fighting against Monsanto, but the company’s deep pockets have made it an uphill battle. With the Bayer takeover threatening to increase those resources, public concern should be on the rise. Related: Mark Ruffalo confronts Monsanto chief: “You are poisoning people” “The attempted takeover of Monsanto by Bayer is a threat to all Americans,” said Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, decrying the Bayer bid. “These mergers boost the profits of huge corporations and leave Americans paying even higher prices. Not only should this merger be blocked, but the Department of Justice should reopen its investigation of Monsanto’s monopoly over the seed and chemical market.” Bayer’s proposed bid led Friends of the Earth Europe’s senior food and farming campaigner Adrian Bebb to issue sharp criticism . “Bayer’s buyout of Monsanto is a marriage made in hell, which threatens to further lock in industrialized agriculture at the expense of nature, farmers and the wider public,” said Bebb. “While public support for local and greener food continues to boom, this mega corporation will be doing its best to force damaging pesticides and GM seeds into our countryside.” Via The Guardian Images via Mike Mozart , Paul and Cathy/Flickr and Bayer  

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Bayer’s proposed $66B Monsanto takeover renews call for monopoly investigation

First-of-its-kind university building in Spain achieves LEED Platinum certification

September 15, 2016 by  
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The first building faces Madrid Street and is connected to an existing building via several walkways and a big foyer linking the new park with the rest of the campus. Concrete pillars are distributed along a grid reflected on the ventilated ceramic facade of the building, with large spans solved using post-tensioned slabs. Related: Green-Roofed University Building in Japan Serves Double Duty The facade was designed as a uniform surface clad with ceramic panels and windows scattered throughout to break up the monotony of the rhythm. The building combines two innovative concepts-a flexible approach to designing educational spaces and a growing commitment to environmental sustainability. + Estudio Beldarrain Via World Architecture News Photos by Francisco Berreteaga

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First-of-its-kind university building in Spain achieves LEED Platinum certification

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