This week’s top five ag and food stories:
Soda tax on its way to the ballot in Boulder. Boulder, Colorado’s city council voted to put a proposed 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages on the ballot in November, reports POLITICO. “The green light for the tax measure comes after legal wrangling over whether tax advocates satisfied a provision of Colorado’s constitution known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and designed to limit government’s growth. Advocates seeking to get a soda tax on the ballot had collected some 9,000 signatures — more than twice what was needed — but Mark Gelband, a local citizen backed by industry lawyers, protested the measure, arguing it was misleading. A city clerk certified the petition; and, on Tuesday, a local judge ruled against a beverage industry appeal of the clerk’s decision.”
Report: Seafood mislabeling is rampant worldwide. A report by the advocacy group Oceana found that one in five seafood samples worldwide are mislabeled. According to Time, “The group looked at 200 studies from 55 countries for their report, which was released on Wednesday. The report authors say evidence of seafood fraud was discovered throughout supply chains worldwide. In the United States alone, the researchers found an average seafood fraud rate of nearly 30 percent, and 58 percent of samples of fraudulent seafood were species that could cause health complications.”
USDA investing $26 million in agriculture innovation. The Department of Agriculture announced the investment of over $26 million into 45 projects focusing on “water quality, conservation finance and assistance to historically underserved USDA customers.” California will receive about $5 million of funding, and “[t]he largest single grant, $2 million, will combat nitrates leaching from fertilized agricultural soil into underground aquifers in the Tulare Lake Basin of California’s Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural areas in the state. The program would encourage more widespread use of the agency’s soil and water assessment tools to conserve water and use less fertilizer, which could help bring nitrate readings in drinking water down to safer levels,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Consumer Reports scientist found to be colluding with anti-GMO activists. Emails have revealed that one of Consumer Reports ‘impartial’ senior scientists is active in the anti-GMO movement. According to the Genetic Literacy Project, “[r]ecently obtained emails from Washington State University via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show Senior Staff Scientist Michael using his Consumers Union email to actively participate in the gmolist—the ‘Independent’ anti-biotech scientists and activists Google Group for secret coordination and planned attacks.”
Bellion Vodka will protect your liver from alcohol damage. “Unlike regular vodka, this innovative alcohol is produced with NTX technology and consists of ingredients found in candy such as glycyrrhizin, mannitol and potassium sorbate,” reports the Elite Daily.