News items related to ag tech, biotech, trade – and perhaps some other interesting topics out there related to agriculture – will be posted on this page throughout the week (as the week progresses newest items will be in green at bottom of sections).  Check the page during the week for updates.

____

This week GFN would also like to highlight the Golden Rice Project and its efforts to address severe vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to blindness and other health issues, primarily in children.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have submitted an application for a biosafety permit to allow Vitamin A-biofortified (GR2E) rice to be used for food, feed, and processing in the Philippines. In addition, IRRI has also applied to include the rice in the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Code (FSANZ) to prevent any trade issues if small amounts of the rice inadvertently end up in shipments of other milled rice imported into Australia/New Zealand.

The governments are both accepting public comments until 14 September and we urge you to all provide comments of support for the applications prior to that deadline. Your comments in support can be directed to the Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry (Philippines) through e-mail at bpibiotechsecretariat@yahoo.com, and online at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/changes/submission/Pages/SubmissionForm.aspx for FSANZ (Application Number A1138; Proposal for Food derived from Provitamin A Rice Line GR2E).

More information about the Golden Rice Project that you may find of use in supportive comments can be found online at http://irri.org/golden-rice – http://irri.org/goldenrice/faqs or http://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/goldenricemoving-forward-philippines.

____

TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

US and Mexico united on dairy trade priorities amid NAFTA renegotiation talks – DairyReporter.com – By Mary Ellen Shoup (Aug 29)

“The US and Mexico dairy sectors have issued a joint list of trade priorities for the modernization of NAFTA, protecting of generic cheese names, and Canada’s “sky-high” dairy tariffs.” – Link

Peru Sees ‘Ambitious’ Trade Deal with Australia as Early as 2018 – Voice of America / Reuters (Aug 28) – Link

Theresa May’s Japan trip ‘prepares ground’ for trade deal – Financial Times (UK) – By Robin Wright (Aug 29) – Link

Japan keen to spearhead Trans Pacific Partnership 11, hopes US returns – New Strait Times (Singapore) – By Rupa Damodaran (Aug 28) – Link

Despite Trump tweets, NAFTA talks moving along quite nicely – Agri-Pulse – By Bill Thomson (Aug 30)

“…the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is moving quickly, positively and without animosity, according to ag sector and government sources.” – Link (subscription)

Africa: A Brief Guide to the Continental Free Trade Agreement – allAfrica / Africa Portal – By Asmita Parshotam (Aug 28) – Link

 

AG, AG TECH, RESEARCH, PRODUCTION, PROTECTION, RELATED ISSUES:

Multi-nutrient rice set to address worldwide ‘hidden hunger’ challenge – NutraIngredients – By Will Chu (Aug 22)

“A multi-nutrient type of rice bred to produce beta-carotene and increased levels of iron and zinc could help tackle malnutrition caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies, also known as “hidden hunger.”” – Link

How to provide a protein-rich diet to a growing population – The Economist (Aug 31)

“What goes onto people’s plates matters. So does what gets fed to animals” – Link (subscription-based)

Fall Armyworm Spreads to Cameroon – VOA – By Moke Edwin Kindzeka (Aug 28)

“The pest has attacked crops in at least 24 African countries.” – Link

Burkina Faso farmers still yearn for Bt cotton – African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) – By Suleiman Okoth (Aug 28) – Link

 

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

Gluten-free water’ shows absurdity of trend in labeling what’s absent – The Conversation – By Brandon McFadden (Aug 28)

“The food labeling craze coupled with banner headlines about the dangers of gluten, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and hormones are leading to increasingly absurd results.” – Link

GM crop delays mean Africa loses benefits – SciDev.Net – By Nelson Mandela Ogema (Aug 25)

“Adopting GM crops such as banana and maize could help save lives in some Sub-Saharan African countries, according to the study.” – Link

Americans are confused about food and unsure where to turn for answers, survey shows – The Conversation – By Sheril Kirshenbaum and Douglas Buhler (Aug 24)

“More than one-third of Americans do not know that foods with no genetically modified ingredients contain genes… The majority of respondents who answered this question incorrectly were young and affluent, and also more likely than their peers to describe themselves as having a higher-than-average understanding of the global food system.”Link

Mega-mergers in agribusiness raise concerns about food costs, biodiversity – USA Today – By Bartholomew D Sullivan (Aug 29) – Link

Amazon lowering Whole Foods prices will hurt those who think they’re better than you – Chicago Tribune – By Rex Huppke (Aug 25)

“…Amazon is taking away the one thing Whole Foods shoppers loved most — prohibitively expensive food that made them feel morally superior.” – Link

Dairy farmers launch “Peel Back the Label” campaign on deceptive food labeling – Ag Week (Aug 31)

“…food manufacturers increasingly utilize “free from” labels – i.e. ”no high fructose corn syrup” or “GMO free” or “hormone-free”– to play on consumers food safety fears and misconceptions.” – Link

USDA reviewing feasibility study for using QR codes to disclose GMOs ahead of new labeling law – Food Navigator USA – By Elizabeth Crawford (Aug 31)

“Contrary to suggestions in a federal lawsuit filed against USDA earlier this month, the agency currently is reviewing a feasibility study exploring how electronic or digital disclosure, such as QR codes, might impact consumers’ ability to easily identify when food and beverages are made from genetically modified ingredients, according to an agency spokesman.” – Link