They’re Baaack! FDA Releases Revised Food Safety Rules
On September 19, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released their second draft of food safety rules regulating produce farmers and food processors. The draft rules are extensive and it will take some time for OEFFA and our partners to fully review them, but it is clear from the preliminary analysis that comments made by OEFFA members made a difference.
The FDA clarified that activities that happen on a farm—like packing and holding produce—are treated the same whether the produce was grown on that farm or a neighboring farm. They have made revisions that will avoid negative impacts to on-farm conservation and wildlife habitat protection. Also, proposed rules on the use of manure as fertilizer will be placed on hold indefinitely, allowing farmers to comply with manure requirements in the National Organic Program.
A 75 day public comment period on the revised rules began September 29. We’ll be supplying more detailed information, talking points, and guidance soon.
Ohio Lawmaker Supports Labeling GE Foods
Many OEFFA members contacted their representatives to request their support for the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act (H.R. 1699). Your calls and letters do make a difference! Representative Marci Kaptur (D-9th District) recently signed on in support of H.R. 1699. We applaud Rep. Kaptur for representing the majority of Americans who want the right to know what they eat and feed their families!
The Chemical Treadmill Continues
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a decision in September to fully deregulate Dow Chemical’s Enlist corn and soybeans. These seeds are genetically engineered (GE) to withstand the Enlist Duo herbicide, which is a blend of 2,4-D and glyphosate. The herbicide has not yet been approved by the Environmental Protect Agency, although the comment period for the herbicide closed earlier this year, pending approval of Enlist corn and soybeans. The USDA is also considering a request to deregulate Monsanto’s GE cotton resistant to dicamba and glufosinate and soybeans resistant to dicamba.
“Roundup Ready” crops have resulted in a massive increase in the use of the herbicide glyphosate which led to herbicide resistant superweeds. Now, Dow and Monsanto claim these new crops are the solution to this weed resistance. But before long we will have superweeds resistant to these new chemical cocktails too. What is the saying about doing the same thing and expecting different results?
Please contact the USDA today (docket # APHIS-2013-0043) and tell them they must stop this dangerous chemical treadmill by rejecting Monsanto’s new GE cotton and soybeans. The comment period is only open until October 10. It is time to demand a more thoughtful and sustainable approach to agriculture!
Show Your Support NOW for Ohio GE Labeling
OEFFA has been collecting petition signatures asking the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation requiring the labeling of GE foods, and we recently made it easier for you to sign on and show legislators how many Ohioans really do care about this important issue.
Fracking Infrastructure Weaves a Web Across the State
Residents of Medina County have been rallying in opposition to a natural gas pipeline that may be built across their properties. Landowners in the area have been receiving requests from Spectra Energy Corp. to survey properties so they can develop pipeline plans. There have been no public meetings to date. The proposed Nexus Gas Transmission Pipeline will cross Wayne, Medina, and Lorain counties.
There was also a meeting in St. Clairesville on September 18 to discuss the ET Rover Pipeline, designed to transport natural gas from processing facilities in the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas.
New Report Singles Out Ohio’s Weak Chemical Disclosure Laws
The Government Accountability Office released a new report showing that Ohio is the only state out of eight in their analysis that allows contaminated waste fluids from oil and gas wells to be disposed without advance disclosure of the contaminants it contains. According to the report, approximately 2 billion gallons of contaminated waste is disposed in injection wells daily. The report also reveals inadequacies in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources oversight of fracking in Ohio.
Climate Change on World Agenda
An estimated 400,000 people from across the country came to New York City in September ahead of the United Nations Summit on Climate Change. The Climate Summit focused on renewable energy, financial support for developing countries, cutting the loss of tropical forests by 2030, improving food production, and increasing electric vehicle use to 30 percent of total new vehicle sales by 2030.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, there was “…one notable absentee: the leader of the country that emits more carbon dioxide than any other and whose emissions are rising faster than any others”—Chinese President Xi Jinping. Leading carbon emitters India and Russia were also absent. The recent op-ed piece by Mark Bittman in the New York Times offers a thoughtful analysis of the climate change issue’s potential to bring about positive change.
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