Today's News - 12 February 2013
“While honey bees have been the focus of media attention, the smaller amount of science looking at the impact on wild pollinators, responsible for 90 per cent of all pollination, suggests the impacts here may be much greater than on honey bees. But the broader lesson is we need to look afresh at how we assess the safety of all systemic pesticides.”
Peter Melchett, Policy director, Soil Association
Farmers Guardian (7 Feb)
Impact of neonicotinoids
The proposed partial ban on neonicotinoids has not come as a surprise, given the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence of the damage these systemic seed treatments do to honey bees and wild pollinators. However, there is a misunderstanding about the nature of the impact of systemic insecticidal seed treatments, such as neonicotinoids, when it suggested it is ‘perplexing’ a seed treatment ‘buried below ground’ can have a devastating impact on pollinating impacts. Letter from Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association.
Farmers Guardian (7 Feb)
Find out about Keep Britain Buzzing
Food growing on National Curriculum
Garden Organic is delighted its long campaign for every schoolchild to have a chance to grow their own food looks set to succeed – with “horticulture” due to become part of the National Curriculum. The final version of the National Curriculum is due to be published in August 2013 and taught in schools from September 2014.
Farming Monthly (11 Feb)
Read about the Food For Life Partnership
Pig manure reveals more reason to worry about antibiotics
There's a global campaign to force meat producers to rein in their use of antibiotics on pigs, chickens and cattle. European countries, especially Denmark and the Netherlands, have taken the lead. The U.S. is moving, haltingly, toward similar restrictions. Now the concerns about rampant antibiotic use appear to have reached China, where meat production and antibiotic use have been growing fast.
Npr (11 Feb)
The Soil Association's position on antibiotics
EU Commission moves ahead with neonicotinoid ban
The EU is moving ahead with proposals to partially ban agricultural chemicals which its risk assessment experts have said present an "unacceptable" risk to bees. Last week the European Commission accepted proposals to ban use of neonicotinoid pesticides on plants attractive to bees, but for the time being the European Food Safety Authority's recommendation remains just that.
Farming Online (11 Feb)
Read our statement on EU proposals for neonicotinoids
Conditions allow for more sustainable-labeled seafood
Next time you walk up to the seafood counter, look for products labeled with a blue fish, a check mark, and the words "Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC." Then ask yourself, "What does this label mean?" The MSC — Marine Stewardship Council — says that the "sustainable" label means that fishermen caught the seafood with methods that don't deplete its supply, and help protect the environment in the waters where it was caught.
Npr (12 Feb)
Lasagne horse contamination requires answers and reassurance
Further news of horse contaminations, this time in Findus beef lasagne, have prompted further calls for a tightening of food inspection protocol to prevent a recurrence of what NFU Scotland has described as a ‘catastrophic failure’ on behalf of the processing and retail sectors. Featuring comment from Rob Sexton, Chief Executive Officer of Soil Association Certification.
The Meat Site (11 Feb)
The Soil Association's statement on food regulation
Indiana soybean farmer sees Monsanto lawsuit reach US supreme court
A 75-year-old farmer takes the agricultural giant to court to find out. As David versus Goliath battles go it is hard to imagine a more uneven fight than the one about to play out in front of the US supreme court between Vernon Hugh Bowman and Monsanto. The legal saga revolves around Monsanto's aggressive protection of its soybean known as Roundup Ready, which have been genetically engineered to be resistant to its Roundup herbicide or its generic equivalents.
Guardian (9 Feb)
The Soil Association's position on GM
Gas company targets protected Manú park in Peruvian Amazon
Leaked document reveals Pluspetrol is eyeing a region where biodiversity 'exceeds that of any other place on Earth'. The revelation about Manú national park follows rumours and reports circulating in Peru that the government will create a gas concession bordering or including parts of the park, but which have not been publicly confirmed.
Guardian (11 Feb)
Healthy livestock scheme extended
Healthy Livestock, a scheme which allows farmers in South West England to obtain up to 70 per cent funding to improve the health and productivity of their sheep and cattle, has now been extended until October 2013.
Farmers Guardian (11 Feb)
Horsemeat scandal boosts trade at local butchers
Family butchers have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity since the horsemeat scandal broke, with some reporting a 40% increase in sales of fresh beef burgers. Shoppers whose confidence has been dented by supermarkets have been heading back to small family butchers to buy locally sourced meat.
Farmers Weekly (11 Feb)
The Environment Secretary is calling the horsemeat scandal "outrageous and completely unacceptable", and has promised urgent action. But one industry expert says it could actually be good news for British farmers, as consumers look for increased traceability in their food. The RSPB and other conservation groups claim the CAP reform agreement reached last week is a disaster for wildlife.
BBC Radio 4 (12 Feb)
And Finally… It's enough to put you off your breakfast! Incredible close-up images of everyday foods that are often less than appetising
Daily Mail (11 Feb)