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[email protected]: Divided House ag committee passes farm bill proposal | New technologies add fuel to GMO debate

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

House panel moves to curb food stamps, renew farm subsidies

The House Committee on Agriculture approved its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, a traditionally bipartisan collection of food and farm programs that’s turned bitterly partisan this time around. Democrats have blasted the House bill, which they say will cut off many Americans living in poverty from food stamps and create extensive record keeping rules and state bureaucracies, without providing enough funding to help Americans on food stamps meet new work and job training requirements. It also would cut funding for conservation programs and streamline processes for pesticide manufacturers having their products approved. But, Democrats like that it includes increased funding for a program that allows food stamp recipients to double their benefits when buying produce and the creation of a food waste and recovery liaison position within the USDA. Now it moves to the House floor, where it will face more opposition. “It needs 218 votes to pass the House floor and, even then, the Senate has already pledged to work on a bipartisan bill that will be seemingly less controversial,” Congresswoman Chellie Pingree wrote in a column for Civil Eats. Read more at U.S. News & World Report… 

 

Is this tomato engineered? Inside the coming battle over gene-edited food

Oils made with gene-edited soybeans. Bread made from reduced gluten wheat. These are just some of the products that include ingredients made from gene-edited crops that could make their way to store shelves soon. Hoping to avoid a repeat of the public debacle that’s emerged over GMO crops, scientists and the ag industry are trying to position this new class of engineered crops as an extension of the more widely accepted practice of seed breeding. They say the techniques used today, like CRISPR, are fundamentally different than the techniques involved in the original GMO crops pioneered by Monsanto because they involve altering plant DNA without inserting new genes from other species. But the natural and organic crowd is holding its ground: The Non-GMO Project says it won’t put its seal on products made with gene-edited plant or animal ingredients. Nutiva and other brands are part of a group that’s set up a website called GMOinside.org to “educate consumers and businesses about the impacts of industrial agriculture and genetically modified organisms on the food system, the environment, health and the economy.” Read more at The Wall Street Journal…

 

Sugar in lollipops? Of course, says candy maker fighting ‘nonsensical’ lawsuit

Class-action lawsuits that accuse CPG companies of greenwashing their products continue—and continue to get more nitpicky and bizarre. In a suit filed against organic candy maker YummyEarth, a woman claims she was tricked into thinking lollipops are healthy because she saw an old label on which the company used the term “evaporated cane juice” instead of “sugar” (the company’s labels now use the phrase “organic cane sugar”). Read more at Forbes…

 

Women aren’t getting enough vitamins

Women lag behind their male counterparts in consumption of several key vitamins and nutrients, according to Dr. Tieraona Low Dog in a guest column for the Albuquerque Journal. That poses an especially tough challenge to people who can’t afford to throw a multivitamin in their grocery cart once a month. “Policymakers could easily help by expanding the list of what’s covered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” she writes. Read more at Albuquerque Journal…

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar on how to slay a $7 billion industry

The Foodstirs co-founder says her company is solving a need for cleaner, convenient baking mixes and making life simpler for people. Her secret to success? “Failure should never be a bad word. It should be a challenging word,” she says. Read more at Forbes… 

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