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Touch the Soil News #625 COOL Labeling In December of 2015, Congress repealed the COOL (country of origin labeling) for meat products. Recently, the state of Wyoming and the state of South Dakota have introduced legislation that would require meat products carry country-of-origin labeling. Looks like states are tired of federal oversight on things that they want.   Agricultural Trade Over 130 agricultural groups in the U.S. (most every major ag group in America) have put their signatures to a letter to Donald Trump on the importance of U.S. agricultural trade overseas. The groups illustrate that the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) has facilitated a quadrupling of agricultural exports…

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Touch the Soil News #557 Free for the Picking In the small city of Coquitlam, British Columbia, (population 130,000) the residents have taken to public city gardening. Garden designer Rachel Elves and a city improvement association created 38 self-watering planters. The planters were planted with a variety of food crops. The planters were located in front of businesses which adopted them, planted them and cared for them. The harvest of the planters was given to the public to harvest and consume.   California Indian Tribes Explore Food Sovereignty Fed up with industrial food, two California Indian tribes are experimenting with growing their own. The Big Pine Paiute-Shoshone tribe (500 members)…

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Touch the Soil News #528 Ukraine Pitches GMOs The Ukraine is a top 10 world producer of crops like wheat and corn – targets of GMO seed companies. Despite massive pressure from Monsanto, the Ukraine’s Parliamentary Committee on Agrarian Policy supported a renewal of a moratorium on the planting of GMO crops (GMO prohibition) for another 7 years.   Pope Francis Against GMOs Pope Francis, leader of the 1.3 billion member Catholic Church recently took a stance against GMOs. In a speed on World Food Day (10/16/2016) Pope Francis declared: “there is a growing number of people who believe they are omnipotent, or able to ignore the cycles of the…

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Touch the Soil News #514 General Mills Flour Recall under Control The Centers for Disease Control says the problem has been contained after 63 people in 24 states were sickened by flour contaminated with Shiga-toxins. By the time it was all said and done, General Mills recalled a whopping 45 million pounds of suspected flour products.   World Health Organization – Tax Sodas The World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland recently established a new recommendation to curb the consumption of sugary drinks – a cause of epidemic obesity and diabetes conditions. On October 11, 2016, the WHO recommends a tax on sugary drinks that would lead to at least a…

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Touch the Soil News #499 World Unites over Antibiotic Resistance Problem The clamor over using medicinally important antibiotics in routine feeding of livestock has reached international levels. The U.N held a special meeting on the subject on 9/21/2016 in New York. Delegates from 193 nations discussed the emerging global crisis. In the U.S. alone, antibiotic-resistant organisms cause over 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year.   The Bayer Acquisition of Monsanto While it will take time for regulators and home and abroad to sort through the merger issues, public attitude towards Bayer – who is acquiring Monsanto – has already soured. A new ReportLinker survey shows that almost 60…

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Touch the Soil News #487 Chipotle Foodborne Illness Crisis Over Chipotle Mexican Grill just settled nearly 100 legal cases regarding food poisoning claims from some 510 people who got ill by eating compromised food at the restaurant. Lawyers and the Centers for Disease Control feel the company has overcome the health and sanitation issues that caused the illnesses. Chipotle investors paid dearly for the incident. Chipotle stock was at $430.70 on September 9, 2016 down nearly $327 from last year when it was at $757.   CEO of World Largest Meat Company under Fraud Probe JBS, S.A. is the world’s largest Meat Processing company (see our previous News piece #472…

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Touch the Soil News #454 On August 1, 2016, McDonalds Corporation announced that it had achieved a complete transition away from using chicken products from chickens administered antibiotics used in human medicine. Originally the transition was not to be completed until March, 2017. In other news, McDonalds currently pays a minimum wage to all its employees equal to $1.00 over the local minimum wage. On August 5, 2016, Wendy’s Hamburgers announced that it too was going to phase out the use of chicken raised with antibiotics used in human medicine. Wendy’s said it would complete the transition in 2017. The BBC News just published an in-depth report on the hunger…

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Touch the Soil News #402 GMO Microbes – Ugh As the world is embroiled over issues surrounding GMO seeds and corporate patenting of seeds, biotech companies are now entering the arena of owning, controlling and technifying soil microbes. Soil microbes are the foundation of life. On average, a person has 3.5 lbs. of microbes in their bodies, the replenishing source being microbes from the soils. Will corporations in time seek to own the bacteria in our gut? Economics and Politics Part Company with Intelligence There is a dairy “price” crisis that is threatening European Union dairy Farmers in general and German dairy farmers in particular. The drivers of this crisis…

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Touch the Soil News #271   Are You A Climatarian Eater? New terms are emerging that identify what kind of eater you are. A climatarian is one who eats with climate change in mind. This generally includes eating locally, choosing pork and poultry over beef and lamb to limit gas emission and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds) to limit food waste.   The Expansion of Food Banking We recently reported on the trend to locate food pantries on college campuses as polls reveal over 35 percent of freshman are food-insecure. On a new front, the Iowa Food Bank has started a new program to quash hunger…

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