Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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Clean Water Rule
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has directed a rewrite of the Clean Water Act, which aims to protect U.S. waterways. Pruitt’s hints at the content of the new rule left agriculture organizations, other interest groups, and many legislators concerned. A group of Democratic senators have since written to Pruitt, asking for assurance that the new rule would continue to protect drinking water.
In an op-ed for the San Diego Union Tribune, food writer Julie Kelly and molecular biologist Henry Miller discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic labeling program. They contend that the campaign should be eliminated because organic labels are simply a marketing tool, and unassuming customers are influenced by the misleading titles to spend extra money on goods with little added benefit. They urge the USDA to stop promoting fear-based labeling.
Mosquito gene editing
Salon contributor Angelo Young discusses the implications of South American scientists studying the genetics and biology of the mosquito that transmits Zika, Yellow Fever and other highly contagious diseases. He emphasizes the potential for gene editing to produce an organism that will help combat diseased species. Young contends that this is similar to the benefits of agriculture GMOs and notes that it will be a challenge for both to convince the public of the use and safety of gene editing in organisms.
Writing for Genetic Literacy Project, agriculture scientist Steve Savage praises the Environmental Protection Agency, noting its significant progress in pesticide regulations. However, he is concerned about the public’s negative perception of the EPA, noting most viewpoints are based on assumptions and political opinions rather than evaluating EPA’s actual actions. He believes the agency will play a significant role in pesticide regulation, and urges that people accurately gauge the EPA.
I’m Maya Menon with v-Fluence, a global provider of food and ag intelligence.