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News Article
Site: http://cen.acs.org/news/ln.html

The level of inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal sold in the U.S. would be kept to a maximum of 100 parts per billion under new recommendations by the Food & Drug Administration. Exposure to the toxic element in infants and pregnant women can result in a child’s decreased performance on developmental learning tests, FDA says. FDA’s proposed limit matches the limit set by the European Commission for rice intended for infants and young children. FDA found that most infant rice cereal in the U.S. meets or is close to meeting its new limit. Out of 76 samples from retail stores in the U.S. in 2014, 47% met the standard, and 78% were at or below 110 ppb, FDA’s data show. “The proposed limit is a prudent and achievable step to reduce exposure to arsenic among infants,” says Susan Mayne, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition. FDA is advising parents to give babies iron-rich infant cereals from multiple grains, not just rice, including oats and barley. Much of the arsenic that accumulates in rice is from naturally occurring sources in soil and water. Manufacturers have been working with rice suppliers, growers, and researchers for many years to lower the amount of arsenic that gets taken up by rice. Baby food manufacturer Gerber claims that its rice cereal is “safe and already meets the guidance level,” because of these combined efforts. Consumer groups, which have long been urging FDA to set a limit for inorganic arsenic in rice food products, are welcoming the proposed limit for infant rice cereal. But they remain concerned by the lack of arsenic limits for other rice-based foods consumed by children and adults. “This is particularly true of children’s ready-to-eat cereals,” says Urvashi Rangan, executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety & Sustainability Center. “We believe the FDA can act swiftly to protect public health and set levels on these products,” she says.


News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/energy/

A bee collects pollen from a Christmas Rose (Hellabore) blossoms on a sunny morning in Hanau, 30 km (18.6 miles) south of Frankfurt, Germany, December 26, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach More CHICAGO (Reuters) - An insecticide widely used on cotton plants and citrus groves can harm bees that come into contact with those crops under certain conditions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday. The agency said a preliminary risk assessment of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide chemically similar to nicotine, found that chemical residues of more than 25 parts per billion would likely harm bees and their hives and result in the bees producing less honey. The EPA, which collaborated with California's Department of Pesticide Regulation, said data showed imidacloprid residues in pollen and nectar above that threshold level in citrus and cotton crops. But residues found on corn and leafy vegetables were below at-risk levels, the agency said. Some crops needed more testing. The federal agency is expected to finalize a broader assessment of risks the chemical may pose to pollinators by the end of the year. Debate over neonicotinoids, also known as neonics, has intensified as concern grows over the health of pollinators crucial to the production of many foods. A two-year moratorium on imidacloprid and two other neonics took effect in Europe last year. The EPA proposed a rule last year to create temporary pesticide-free zones when crops are in bloom and farmers are using commercial pollinators such as bees. On Wednesday, the Center for Food Safety and a coalition of farmers and agriculture groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA, accusing it of failed oversight over millions of pounds of neonic-coated seeds sold and planted. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The EPA could not be reached for comment. Pesticide critics called on the EPA on Wednesday to suspend the sale and use of imidacloprid and other neonicotinoid pesticides. "They're not taking into account the realistic exposures in the field, they're not looking at the impact of these pesticides on bees or wild pollinators over time," said Lisa Archer, food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth. Bayer CropScience, Syngenta AG and other firms that produce or sell neonic products have said mite infestations and other factors are to blame for bee deaths. Bayer Cropscience said in a statement it was reviewing the EPA's preliminary findings, but added they appeared to "overestimate the potential for harmful exposures in certain crops, such as citrus and cotton, while ignoring the important benefits these products provide and management practices to protect bees."


News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

An AquAdvantage Salmon is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by AquaBounty Technologies. The Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth and other groups allege in the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) failed to consider all of the environmental risks of the fish when the agency approved it in November. The FDA also cleared the product, made by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies, without having the proper authority to regulate genetically engineered animals produced for food, according to the complaint. The agency declined to comment on the lawsuit on Thursday. Its approval of AquaBounty salmon followed a 20-year review and was the first such approval for an animal whose DNA has been scientifically modified. AquaBounty is confident the FDA's approval will stand, Chief Executive Ron Stotish said in a statement. The agency was "extraordinarily thorough and transparent in the review and approval of our application," he said. The company has said its salmon can grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon, saving time and resources. However, the FDA approval process included "an extremely limited environmental assessment" that did not fully evaluate the potential for AquaBounty salmon to escape from the facilities where they are grown, among other risks, according to the lawsuit. The legal challenge comes as the U.S. food industry is facing increased pressure from consumers to provide more information about the use of genetically engineered ingredients. General Mills Inc and other major food companies are rolling out new disclosures on products to comply with a Vermont law that will require labels on foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Major retailers, including Kroger Co and Target Corp, have already said they do not plan to stock AquaBounty salmon on store shelves. It is not yet available for sale. Activists worry the FDA's approval of the salmon will serve as a precedent for other genetically engineered food animals. Their lawsuit seeks to prohibit the FDA from taking further action on the fish or any other genetically engineered animal for human consumption until Congress grants an agency clear authority over such products. The case is Institute for Fisheries Resources et al v Sylvia Mathews Burwell et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 16-cv-01574.


News Article
Site: http://www.sej.org/headlines/list

"U.S. health regulators are facing a lawsuit from a coalition of environmental organizations seeking to overturn the government's landmark approval of a type of genetically engineered salmon to be farmed for human consumption. The Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth and other groups allege in the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) failed to consider all of the environmental risks of the fish when the agency approved it in November. The FDA also cleared the product, made by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies, without having the proper authority to regulate genetically engineered animals produced for food, according to the complaint."


News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/energy/

Every year, American farmers spray some 3.5 million pounds of neonicotinoid insecticides over 127 million acres of farmland. That’s according to official Environmental Protection Agency estimates, at least. But the bee-killing chemicals are present in crops on more than twice as many acres because, thanks to an EPA loophole a large swath of land planted with neonic-treated corn, soy, and other crops doesn't count as being treated with pesticides. The difference comes in the application, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by a coalition of beekeepers, farmers, and environmental and wildlife conservation groups: The EPA only regulates neonics as a pesticide when they are sprayed on fields. Meanwhile, farmers who use seeds pretreated with neonics—allowing the insecticide to be taken up in every part of the plant, from leaf to pollen—aren’t considered to be using a pesticide, and they aren’t regulated as such. The federal lawsuit filed seeks to change that. "EPA has created an exemption that is so big you could drive a Mack truck through it and allows this vast suite of environmental harms and bee kills and other sort of damage to occur without any oversight," Peter Jenkins, an attorney with the anti-GMO group Center for Food Safety, which is party to the suit, told Minnesota Public Radio on Wednesday. Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota beekeeper who is the lead plaintiff, says that dust from fields planted with treated seeds has drifted onto his hives, as might happen when a field is sprayed with pesticides, killing bees. Many have singled out neonics as the culprit in the troublingly high rates of bee die-offs observed in managed hives in recent years, while the science suggests that a host of pests, chemicals, and environmental influences are behind the losses. But even if bee death is more complicated than one chemical, the EPA itself is now saying that neonics harm bees. However, the agency's first assessment of the insecticides, released Wednesday, says the chemicals are only a risk to bees when applied to cotton and citrus, not corn and vegetable crops. The EPA has not commented on the new lawsuit. Other research, including studies conducted by the EPA, suggest that using pretreated seeds simply isn’t worth it. A 2014 EPA report concluded that seed treatment “provide[s] negligible overall benefits to soybean production in most situations.” A review of 19 papers on neonic treatments conducted by the Center for Food Safety found that 11 studies concluded that the insecticides had “inconsistent” benefits, while eight found that “neonicotinoid treatments did not provide any significant yield benefit.” The plaintiffs say the treated seeds do, however, excel at killing wildlife. “A single seed coated with a neonicotinoid insecticide is enough to kill a songbird,” Cynthia Palmer, director of pesticides science and regulation at the American Bird Conservancy, said in a press release. “There is no justification for EPA to exempt these pesticide delivery devices from regulation.” • For the First Time, the Government Says a Pesticide Harms Bees • Seven Reasons 2015 Was the Sweetest Year Yet for Saving Bees • The Decline in Bees Will Cause a Decline in Healthy Food

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