Tuesday, March 11, 2014
from rt.com: Political turmoil, social unrest, civil war and terrorism could all be on the table unless the world boosts its food production by 60 percent come mid-century, the UN’s main hunger fighting agency has warned. The world’s population is expected to hit 9 billion people by 2050, which, coupled with the higher caloric intake of increasingly wealthy people, is likely to drastically increase food demand over the coming decades said Hiroyuki Konuma, the assistant director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Asia-Pacific.
from foxnews.com: It’s taken almost two decades, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may be close to a ruling on the world’s first genetically modified animal protein. AquAdvantage salmon is a product of the Massachusetts-based biotech firm AquaBounty Technologies. Designed to reach market size in about half the time of standard farmed salmon, the fish would be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption. Producers say the salmon is safe to eat, environmentally friendly and can feed more of the population with less resources, compared to other farmed fish. But last week two major store chains, Kroger and Safeway, joined a growing list of supermarkets that say that they will refuse to sell the salmon -- dubbed “frankenfish” by critics -- raising questions about whether consumers will buy it, even with the FDA’s approval.
Monday, March 10, 2014
from washingtonpost.com: Congress last month passed a revamp of agriculture and food policy that was supposed to save the U.S. government $8.6 billion in food-stamp costs over a decade. That may not happen, though, now that some states are finding a way to avoid the cuts. New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are triggering extra nutrition spending by adding money to a home-heating subsidy tied to increased food-stamp aid. The move feeds needy families while thwarting spending-reduction goals. Deficit watchers say they are disappointed, while anti-hunger activists are lobbying other states to do the same. If more follow, the federal government would have to spend much of the $8.6 billion it planned to save, as states reduce spending on other programs to meet the new mandate.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
motherboard.vice.com: An array of 25 enormous baited hooks has been bobbing from bright orange buoys since late January in turquoise waters just off postcard-perfect white beaches around Perth. The so-called drum lines are a desperate attempt by a conservative state government to protect summertime beachgoers and the region’s tourism sector from a growing scourge of shark attacks.
The nascent Australian attempt to cull sharks before they can kill any humans has proven potent when it comes to capturing immature sharks and species that are mostly harmless. But when it comes to killing great whites, which have been responsible for most of the (very rare) attacks on surfers and divers along the Western Australian shoreline, where culling began more than a month ago, the state government’s controversial program has floundered like a fish out of water.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
from politico.com: The architect of the biggest change to nutrition labels in two decades is the founder of a pop culture and arts magazine that lists Daft Punk and David Bowie as contributors. He also once played a major role in a successful national advertising campaign that used disturbing images, like body bags and a cowboy, who’s had a tracheotomy, singing through his throat to get kids to stop smoking. Kevin Grady, a 49-year-old Boston-based graphic designer, might not be who you were expecting to be tapped by the Food and Drug Administration to overhaul the Nutrition Facts panel, a label that appears on roughly 700,000 food and beverage products nationwide, as part of the Obama administration’s effort to nudge Americans into healthier eating. He’s not a bureaucrat, nutritionist or even a labeling expert. Perhaps that’s why Grady, a design director at IDEO and the editor-in-chief/creative director at LEMON magazine, was not afraid to take a slightly unconventional approach and venture outside design norms, in part by blowing up the font size for calorie counts on nutrition labels from 8- to an eye-popping 24-point font, making the number even larger than the “Nutrition Facts” text.
Friday, March 7, 2014
from ecns.cn: Agriculture Minister Han Changfu told a press conference at the second session of the NPC on Thursday that he eats genetically modified (GM) food, mainly soybean oil. He said that although Chinese transgenic research lags behind that of developed countries, international advanced level has been reached in some fields, such as genetically modified cotton which has a 95 percent share of the domestic market. It effectively controls bollworm damage and reduces the application of pesticides, ensuring the development of the cotton industry and farmers' incomes. Han said that China has established laws and regulations which cover transgenic research, production, processing, marketing and import licensing as well as mandatory product identification. "Transgenic technology is a new concept to many people so it's understandable that some are worried about it. It needs time for people to get to know and accept it," he said.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
from latimes.com: Albertsons parent Cerberus Capital Management is setting its sights on the grocery throne currently occupied by Kroger, buying up rival Safeway Inc. in a deal valued at more than $9 billion. Through its AB Acquisition arm, Cerberus said Safeway shareholders will receive $40 a share, including $32.50 a share in cash. Board members of Safeway, which is based in Pleasanton in Northern California, unanimously approved the transaction. The company runs the Vons and Pavilions chains in Southern California. Together, the two grocery chains will operate more than 2,000 stores. Kroger has 2,640 units.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
from cnn.com: Scientists have unearthed a giant virus more than 30,000 years old from the frozen soil in a remote region of Siberia. While this ancient virus is harmless to people, the scientists behind the discovery warn that the discovery suggests that the thawing of permafrost in polar regions, as a result of either climate change or mining, could bring threats to human health. The ancient virus, named Pithovirus sibericum, infects amoebas, not humans or animals. It survived in the Siberian ice from a period when woolly mammoths and saber-tooth cats roamed the earth. The scientists found it in the Chukotka Autonomous Region, the most northeasterly region of Russia, which lies across the Bering Strait from Alaska. Its discovery was reported by the researchers, from French and Russian institutions, in an article published this week by the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.