Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘usda’

GMOs Continue to Engineer Conflict

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Whether it is true or not, sources are saying that the U.S. has been working towards reducing the amount of genetically modified food products that it allows into the country.  For now, the U.S.D.A. and its Office of Inspector General are attempting to balance their needs for foreign trade with the needs of the “health and safety”of Americans.  One report, urges the USDA to strengthen its links with countries where research is exploding, such as China, India and Brazil.  China, for example, is ready to launch the world’s first commercial GM rice, but it has yet to be approved by the USDA.  Problems will arise, says the OIG, when new GM products enter the US undeclared – the USDA would be unprepared to test or even identify them.

Meanwhile, The New York Times came out with an article just last week claiming that big GMO businesses continue to be a barrier to academic research of the organisms.

-Serena

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Merrigan Makes Headlines as U.S.D.A.’s New Deputy Secretary

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Kathleen MerriganThe most exciting food-world news of the past 48 hours?  Kathleen Merrigan has been named as Deputy Secretary of the U.S.D.A.  This position is second only to Tom Vilsack’s and will be the post to pick-up practically all of the issues that he cannot” and then some. Extremely accomplished in her support of alternative agriculture, Merrigan is the Director of Tufts University’s Agriculture, Food and Environment M.S. and Ph.D. Programs.  She has been involved with the U.S.D.A. since former President Clinton’s time and shows no sign of loosening her motivated and inspiring reigns now.

-Serena

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2 Food Safety Agencies or 1, There’s Much to Be Done

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I wasn’t aware of how strange it is that our country has two separate agencies of food safety: the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – until I read that Tom Vilsack is a proponent of the idea that we have just one.  Upon doing more research, I learned that the U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety Inspection Service is in charge of overlooking only eggs, poultry, and meat while the F.D.A. handles all other foods.

Until these two entities are combined or another one is formed altogether, this interesting checklist (created by Ethicurean) for what the U.S.D.A. should accomplish in the next six months should be keeping everyone busy.

“Make the USDA once again the ‘people’s department’ with staff that answer to citizens before corporations.

Start supporting diversified, decentralized food systems right now, and stop risking American lives by encouraging all our eggs to be put in one basket (or hamburger in one plant, peanuts in one processor).

Stop using the nation’s kids as a garbage disposal.

Give us clear information about where our food comes from and how it was produced.

Start protecting us from food gone wrong, and GE crops gone wild.”

-Serena

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