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GMO Labeling: Public Interest Advocacy Group Sues Trump Over Secrecy

Last week, Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the Trump Administration for refusing to make public documents surrounding its decision on how to label genetically engineered (GE or GMO) foods. On May 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released long-awaited proposed regulations for the first-ever U.S. mandatory disclosure of foods produced using genetic engineering. Earlier this year, CFS sought the public data and documents about the rulemaking under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but the administration failed to make public any information, leading to this CFS lawsuit to force that disclosure.

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Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

5 Reasons Getting USDA Organic Certification Is Really Difficult

As the only government-administered label that addresses farming practices, the organic emblem is vitally important. There literally is no other badge that carries as much weight. USDA certified organic-food sales topped $43 billion in 2016—emphasis on "USDA certified." Ask around at your local farmers market and you're likely to run into a few "all-but-certified" farms (for which there are no statistics). The reason? Organic certification is incredibly difficult. Here's why.

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Missouri Passes Bill Defining 'Meat' to Exclude Plant-Based and Lab-Grown Foods

Missouri state lawmakers passed an omnibus agriculture bill on Thursday that includes a provision prohibiting plant-based products from being labeled as "meat."

This measure would ban companies from using the term "plant-based meat" to describe their products. It would also prevent any future lab-grown products that hit the market from using the labeling.

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Food
Nevit Dilmen / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Burger With a Side of Plastic: More Than 35,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Recalled Due to Contamination

One unlucky diner found a nasty surprise in their ground beef―pieces of hard, blue plastic.

That discovery has led to a recall of more than 35,000 pounds of ground beef sold in Kroger stores, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.

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Animals
Coyote at Seedskadee NWR. Tom Koerner / USFWS

Wildlife Services Killed 1.3 Million Native Animals in 2017, Including Coyotes, Bears, Wolves

The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 1.3 million native animals during 2017, according to new data released by the agency last week.

The multimillion-dollar federal wildlife-killing program targets wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction—primarily to benefit the agriculture industry. Of the 2.3 million animals killed in total last year, more than 1.3 million were native wildlife species.

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USDA Focus on Nutrition Program 'Integrity' Is a Smokescreen

By Sarah Reinhardt

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will hire a new "chief integrity officer" to oversee federal nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).

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The Real Organic Project: Disgusted With the USDA, Farmers Make Their Own Organic Label

By Dan Nosowitz

Worth billions of dollars, the organic label is the only federally regulated food label that conveys any information about how that food was produced. Certified organic is the fastest-growing food segment—and the distinction can be profitable for farmers (and also costly and difficult to implement)—but that doesn't mean everyone's happy with it. A series of scandals and a lack of faith in the current iteration of the USDA, which oversees the organic program, has led a group of pioneering organic farmers to create their own label: the Real Organic Project.

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USDA Proposes Significant Cuts in Pork Processing Regulation

By Dan Nosowitz

Food safety concerns have been ratcheting up lately: major outbreaks of salmonella, listeria and other food-borne bacteria seem to be on the rise. Given that, you might expect any changes in federal oversight to work toward fixing that. Not so fast!

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3 Reasons Why the Trump USDA’s School Nutrition Rollbacks Should Worry You—and What You Can Do About It

By Sarah Reinhardt

In May of 2017, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue moved to make school meals great again by issuing a proclamation in support of more lenient school nutrition standards. Specifically, the proposed rule permits the continued use of whole grain waivers, which exempt certain products from meeting whole grain standards; freezes current sodium limits through 2020, rather than moving forward with progressive sodium targets; and allows schools to serve low-fat flavored milk, which is currently disallowed due to its added sugar and fat content.

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