In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- Beginning on Earth Day, April 22, Whole Foods will stop offering "red-rated" seafood items at its stores. The ratings evaluate the fishing methods and availability of the fish in question. Red-rated fish are suffering from overfishing, and/or the fishing methods harm other marine life. Whole Foods displays color-coding for "green-rated" and "yellow-rated" seafood as well. Fish that will no longer be offered include Atlantic halibut, grey sole, and skate.
- Iran has begun stockpiling wheat, perhaps in preparation for future international sanctions. The country has bought a substantial amount of wheat from the United States, as well as from Australia, Brazil, and Kazakhstan. Iran is facing a declining currency, as well as a potential dry spell that could reduce wheat harvests this May. Without stores of wheat, increased food costs could increase civilian unrest in the tumultuous country.
- The Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, New York has been in the news recently, as some of the coop's 16,000 members are pushing the grocery to stop purchasing foods made in Israel. The boycott would be in solidarity with many other divestment projects across the U.S. that are attempting to make a stand against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The boycott was voted on by 1,800 members of the coop last week, and 1,000 voted it down. Some are relieved to see this divisive political issue kept out of the grocery's operations; others insist that politics have always been a part of the coop's existence.
- The Just Label It! campaign, which demands that the FDA label genetically-engineered foods, accumulated a record 1,000,000 signatures on its petition last week. This is the highest number of signatures ever achieved for a food-related petition to the FDA. The group reports that about 90% of Americans, across the political spectrum, approve of GE labeling. Over 40 countries require GE labeling.
- And on a similar note, farmers from across the U.S. are appealing the dismissal of the Family Farmers v. Monsanto case, which was heard in Manhattan in January of this year. The plaintiffs are challenging Monsanto's patents of genetically-engineered seeds, including the company's ability to sue farmers whose crops inadvertently become cross-pollinated with nearby GE seeds. The group of plaintiffs include small farmers, seed companies, and agricultural non-profit organizations.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.