Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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Politico reports agriculture, labor, and food trade groups are concerned over the Trump Administration’s plans to alter the North American Free Trade Agreement. The report notes some groups are calling for more transparent negotiations while others, led by the US Chamber of Commerce, are lobbying at Capitol Hill to seek protection US farm exports – one third of which go to Mexico and Canada. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is urging the Trump Administration to carefully listen to the public and stakeholders during negotiations.
Meanwhile, writing for National Journal, columnist Julie Kelly argues that Congress should investigate the multi-billion-dollar organic industry and the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program for allegedly defrauding American consumers over organic imports. The accusation comes in light of a recent USDA’s inspector general report which Kelly contends is proof that millions of consumers have been deceived into buying pricier organic products that don’t meet federal organic standards. She urges Congress to cut taxpayer funded support for organic marketing.
In biotech discussions, Cornell Alliance for Science reports on Uganda Parliament’s decision to adopt laws to allowing for the regulated use of genetically engineered crops.. The Alliance notes that Ugandan plant scientists are in the later stages of testing for GMO wilt-resistant banana varieties that can resist a plant disease currently threatening the region’s primary staple food source. c..
In related news, the Agriculture and Food Security Journal is promoting a solution to Vitamin A deficiency, making a case that genetically modified rice Golden Rice could improve children’s health globally. Writer Adrian Dubock of the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board argues the adoption of Golden Rice could prevent widespread childhood blindness and weakened immune systems, symptoms due to Vitamin A deficiency. He outlines a multitude of ways to support efforts to approve its use in hopes of realizing what he contends is a low cost and sustainable potential solution to a global problem.
I’m Maya Menon for the Food and Ag report in Washington.