When key government officials start touting the need for biotechnology there’s reason to be concerned. Roger Beachy, the Chief Scientist of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), recently told Smartplanet.com that biotechnology is needed to maximize food production and reduce the use of agrochemicals. “With a greater number of people,” he said, “we’re going to have to have more crop per acre. If we don’t, we’ll have to expand [agriculture] to our parks, forests, and golf courses.” And at first it might seem strange to hear a top government official parroting talking points from Monsanto’s Corporate Responsibility page … until you read his resume, that is. His last job before joining the USDA was as founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a non-profit research institute co-founded by Monsanto and the Danforth Foundation.
There is a clear link between the use of antibiotics in livestock and drug resistance in humans, President Barack Obama’s administration says, a position sharply at odds with agribusiness interests.
In testimony to a House committee on Wednesday, even the Agriculture Department, which livestock producers have traditionally relied on to advocate for their interests, backed the idea of a link between animal use of antibiotics and human health.
SCIENTISTS have called for a government crackdown on pesticides that they warn are putting pregnant women at greater risk of having children with cancer.
The researchers say studies have shown that pesticide exposure either before conception or during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood cancer.
Writing in a report for the Chemicals, Health and Environment Monitoring (Chem) Trust, they have called on the government to step up action to ban the most harmful pesticides and to bring in a duty for the public to be informed before spraying takes place.
In response to a call from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to ban synthetic dyes to color foods, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) reminded consumers last week that they can already avoid such dyes in the marketplace by choosing to purchase organic foods.
CSPI’s latest report entitled “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks” outlines health concerns posed by the nine currently approved dyes used on conventionally produced foods (http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf). According to CSPI, the dyes present “a rainbow of risks,” including allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and even cancer.