Today's News - 28 September 2012
“It is crucial we don’t let regulators open the door to the real and proven problems of commercial GM crops by chasing imaginary benefits.
Emma Hockridge – Speciality Food Magazine - 1 October 2012
'Ugly' fruit and veg make the grade on UK supermarket shelves
The driest March in 59 years, followed by the wettest June and autumn storms and flooding have reduced British fruit and vegetable harvests by more than 25% and left supermarkets unable to source their regular shaped, blemish-free produce. On Thursday, Sainsbury's relaxed its rules on the cosmetic appearance of fresh produce and allowed fruit and vegetables that would normally be ploughed back into fields to be sold in its 1,012 stores. The UK Soil Association, which sets standards for organic produce, has estimated that 20-40% of some UK fruit and vegetables are rejected because they are misshapen or discoloured even before they reach the shops.
The Guardian (27 Sept)
Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association talks about the impact of GM crops today: “The main beneficiaries of GM have been the companies that sell them – the big push for GM has come from the chemical and seed industries hunting for ways to extract more money for farming. Many of the benefits promised from GM crops, in terms of higher productivity or lower pesticide use, have not materialised. Meanwhile, new problems of pest resistance are being reported, denting farmers’ confidence in GM.”
Speciality Food Magazine (1 Oct)
Conservationists call for action on chemicals on 50th anniversary of Silent Spring
Advocates of environmentally sensitive agriculture have called for more to be done to reduce the farming sector’s ecological footprint on the anniversary of one of the environmental movement’s most defining works. On Thursday, Celebrity gardener and president of organic certification body the Soil Association, Monty Don discussed the book’s legacy in a letter to The Guardian. He said, “I can remember the mixture of naïve optimism and unbridled arrogance of our farmers throughout the 60's and 70's and the utter disrespect that almost all showed towards Carson and those that shared her concerns. Now, 50 years on, that arrogance is somewhat modified, but the patterns and systems that it created for remorseless profit-based food production are in the tight fist of huge corporations that have no respect or care at all for humanity.”
Farming Online (27 Sept)
‘Wise up’ to organic milk, says OMSCo in £1m push
Organic milk co-operative OMSCo is launching a £1m consumer ad campaign next week to raise awareness of the benefits of organic milk and organic dairy farming.
The Grocer (27 Sept)
Farm diversification: reinventing wool
In 2008 the outlook was bleak for wool producers. Shearing costs far outweighed fleece prices as clip values plummeted to 33p/kg – the lowest average annual price in the past decade. Farmers resorted to burning fleeces to limit their losses.
Farmers Weekly (28 Sept)
Farming leaders welcome slurry spreading extension
Farming leaders have welcomed government plans to allow farmers struggling in the wet weather to spread slurry outside the normal closed period.
Farmers Weekly (27 Sept)
Charlotte Smith investigates how new EU rules might affect UK abattoirs.
BBC Radio4, Listen Again (28 Sept)