The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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GMO Apple Comment Period Opens

A final, 30-day public comment period on USDA consideration of opening the United States to the growing and sales of genetically modified apples began Nov. 8 and will conclude on Dec. 9.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking public comment on its environmental assessment and plant risk assessment documents for the Arctic Golden Delicious and Arctic Granny Smith apples modified to be nonbrowning by Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. of Summerland, B.C.

APHIS will only consider comments on the documents as to whether the apples are likely to pose environmental and plant pest risks, not general comments on genetically modified organisms, said Joel Brooks, marketing and communications specialist at Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

“We’re really excited. After three-and-a-half years, the assessments conclude it is safe and doesn’t pose risks. That’s very satisfying,” said Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

He said he expects approval within 90 days in the United States and only slightly longer in Canada.

“We are closer than ever to bringing consumers and producers safe, value-added Arctic apples, providing greater convenience and reducing food waste,” Carter said.

An orchardist, Carter has been field testing his GMO apples for 10 years. Under USDA permits, trial plots are growing in Washington state and New York, Brooks said.

The apples have been modified not to brown when sliced by switching off a gene. The sliced apple business could save costs of antioxidant treatment to prevent browning and use of sliced apples could increase, Carter has said.

Also noted in the article:

The council submitted comments during the first U.S. public comment period in 2012. There were a total of 72,745 public comments and the majority were opposed, Schlect said.
Of that, 1,939 were unique comments and the rest were form responses, Brooks noted.


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Take a minute to listen to David Bronner’s impassioned plea for GMO labeling. And then say “thanks”!

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a fifth-generation family-owned business, believes consumers should have the right to know if their food, or other products, contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). So the Bronner Family has donated $2 million so far to YES on I-522, the campaign to pass a GMO labeling initiative in Washington State.

Please go to the Organic Consumers blog to send a “Thank you!” to the Bronner Family for supporting I-522 and your Right to Know!

 


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Food Industry Hiding Behind GMA in Labeling Fight

Others have asked, and I agree, if GMO’s are as benign as the industry claims they are, why not label foods and let the consumer decide?  Instead “companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills and Kellogg’s have thrown down plenty of cash to defeat various initiatives across the country, and the story isn’t any different in Washington state, where a new push to label GMO foods has been gaining momentum.”  Clare Leschin-Hoar exposes their tactics on the take part blog:

The major brands have been accused of hiding behind a trade association to lobby against the effort in an attempt to avoid customer backlash and a public relations nightmare.
Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit yesterday claiming the Grocery Manufacturers Association—which represents more than 300 household brands—has violated campaign disclosure laws. The group is accused of failing to form a political committee registered with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission after it solicited and collected nearly $13.5 million in contributions, spending $7.2 in efforts to a defeat ballot measure I-522, which would require genetically modified foods to be labeled. Continue reading


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Fishey Fleet Coast-to-Coast Tour Ends at Seattle HempFest

Yesterday, the Fishy Fleet coast-to-coast tour ended at the 22nd annual Seattle HempFest. East coast driver Shannon Spectra, wrote a song about GMOs on the 10 day trip. In this video, she sings, hoop dances and reads the Yes On 522 Dr Bronner’s label that will be available in stores nationwide next month.

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Fishy Tomato: A genetically modified tomato, or transgenic tomato is a tomato that has had its genes modified, using genetic engineering. The first commercially available genetically modified food was a tomato engineered by Calgene to have a longer shelf life (the Flavr Savr). This product was a failure because no Americans wanted to buy a GMO tomato. Currently there are no genetically modified tomatoes available commercially, but scientists are developing tomatoes with new traits like increased resistance to pests or environmental stresses. In 1997 the Monsanto Company completed the purchase of Calgene. (Source: Fishy Tomato Webpage)

 


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Anti-GMO Activists Launch Fishy Art Car Campaign

Fishy Art Cars set to launch anti-GMO campaign on August 5th reports Arin Greenwood at the Huffington Post:

On August fish — sorry, make that August 5th — anti-GMO activists will be launching a nationwide demonstration with a visual punch.
fish tomato car
Part of that punch is a car topped by a fish tomato sculpture, nicknamed Fishy Tomato, a reference to the much-vilified DNA Plant Technology hybrid that mixed a tomato with genetic material from the Arctic flounder. (The hope was that this twist would help the tomatoes be more durable, to stay mush-free longer. What they became is iconic to activists who favor restrictions on the production and sale of genetically modified food.)
Eighteen activists in six art cars, including Fishy Tomato (above), each affixed with a fish-mix sculpture — fish apple, fish soy, fish wheat, and so on — will travel from D.C. to Seattle’s Hempfest, with many stops in between, including one at the Missouri headquarters of Monsanto, a biotech company, for an overnight camping protest. Continue reading


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Key summit set in genetically modified food label fight

Published in The Hill by Ben Goad:

Major players in the food industry have scheduled a crucial meeting for next week that could become a turning point in the regulatory battle over genetically modified foods.

Challenges to the use of biotechnology have created an “unprecedented period of turmoil” for food producers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said in a letter circulated among trade groups that was obtained by The Hill.

“We have reached a pivotal point in this effort and believe now is the time to bring together a broad coalition to confront these challenges,” the GMA wrote in the letter, which invited CEOs and top industry officials to a Wednesday summit in Washington.

Just how the food industry might move forward appears up for debate. Though organizers of the GMA summit were tight-lipped, advocates and industry officials said the options could ultimately range from a coordinated attack against labels to acceptance of a national standard.

The GMA’s membership list includes more than 300 companies, including food giants Kraft Foods, Coca Cola and General Mills. The group declined to discuss the meeting or whether it would propose a particular strategy. Continue reading


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NASA Flights Target How Pollution, Storms And Climate Mix

More than 250 scientists, engineers, and flight personnel are participating in the Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) campaign. The project is sponsored by the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Brian Toon of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is SEAC4RS lead scientist.

“In summertime across the United States, emissions from large seasonal fires, metropolitan areas, and vegetation are moved upward by thunderstorms and the North American Monsoon,” Toon said. “When these chemicals get into the stratosphere they can affect the whole Earth. They also may influence how thunderstorms behave. With SEAC4RS we hope to better understand how all these things interact.”

One benefit of this thorough examination of the region’s atmosphere will be more accurate satellite data.

“By using aircraft to collect data from inside the atmosphere, we can compare those measurements with what our satellites see and improve the quality of the data from space,” said Hal Maring of the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters.

Read more here.