Month: April 2014

What’s on a Label?

As the debate on wholesomeness and healthfulness continues, dedicated advocates from every perspective are digging in their heels. The definition of what is good is evolving, with its story punctuated by attempts to officially label what constitutes healthy. In the past couple of weeks, the status of trans fats and their Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status continued to elicit heated debate. Walmart and Target made waves when they announced new lines of organic and better-for-you brands. Regarding health, foodborne disease rates proved stubbornly immoveable between 2006 and 2013, according to a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Finally, nothing has garnered more attention recently than the battle over genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling at the state and federal government levels; specifically, Vermont appears likely to pass a GMO label mandate, and Congress is mulling the role of the federal government in the debate. President Obama weighed in via an April 11 letter to Dr. Norman Borlaug’s granddaughter, “I share his belief that investment in enhanced biotechnology is an essential component of the solution to some of our planet’s most pressing agricultural problems.”

Real Voices

Two highly respected individuals bookend this edition of Influence Feed. On National Agriculture Day, the U.S. commemorated the 100th birthday of Dr. Norman Borlaug, the deeply influential “father of the green revolution,” with a life-size statue in Washington, D.C. Secondly, food and agriculture lost an outspoken advocate for animal health and food safety in Dr. Scott Hurd. These two had tremendous influence on improving the quality of our food supply.

Several hotly-debated topics are covered in this edition. The FDA published a progress update on Guidance 213, and we provide some key feedback from different perspectives. Reporter Lynn Terry’s piece on Salmonella prevention in Denmark received major attention after Food Safety News’ Bill Marler shared it. Additionally, we saw how a labeling mistake at Whole Foods served as an opportunity for New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom to bring plant-based protein into the spotlight. Read about these and more.