Category: Crops

Policy Pledges and Corporate Commitments

As antibiotic use and trade policies are seeing reform in the final year of the Obama Administration, the latter half of March brought with it an unmatched number of commitments from food companies changing their sourcing and labeling policies. Additionally, states have taken it upon themselves to raise wages for the nation’s lowest-earning workers. See how these changes are reshaping the market in this edition of Influence Feed.

Criticism Flows Against Coca-Cola

Critics were quick to jump on The Coca-Cola Company for its role in funding a nonprofit organization that blamed obesity on lack of exercise. See what detractors had to say about the soda maker and how Coca-Cola’s CEO responded. You can also see what beta-agonist growth promotant was caught in the crosshairs.

MIDYEAR RECAP: PUSHBACK ON NEW POLICIES

This edition of Influence Feed ranks the most highly discussed topics from the past six months as well as recent insight from our influencers. Commitments from large food companies and analysis from various nongovernmental organizations drove influencer conversations of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides. Regulatory action enflamed debates about agricultural policies and practices. Meanwhile, drought in California served as a consistent backdrop for commentary on agriculture in the United States.

In recent events, influencers have turned to Washington to address concerns about the health of humans and of poultry: Poultry farmers aired grievances regarding the handling of the avian flu epidemic; a nutrition study called for a reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages; and the prepared food industry applauded a relaxed deadline on menu labeling.

Serving Up Discussion

Thanksgiving marked a celebration of views for influencers, who used the holiday to examine hot-button issues in food production. In addition to the turkey talk, there was plenty of buzz about new rules requiring calorie-count information from chain restaurants, movie theaters, and grocery and convenience stores that sell prepared foods for takeout. You’ll also want to see the food industry reaction to President Obama’s executive order to protect undocumented workers from deportation. Find these issues and more in this edition of Influence Feed.

Food Chain Transparency

Two of the nation’s largest companies are making moves to bolster their reputations in the food business, and that’s generating plenty of reaction among influencers. One fast food giant is taking the veil off of its production processes, and one retail giant is supporting sustainability efforts while promoting steps toward selling healthier affordable food.

See who’s making the moves and what leading commentators are saying about them in this installment of Influence Feed.

Causes, criticism and caution

Even around the Labor Day weekend, there was no holiday from debate over the substantive issues facing our food industry.

Take a New Yorker piece on environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva, whose global campaign against genetically modified crops prompted reaction, reflection and rebuttal. Or consider legislative efforts to address the drought in California through water regulation. Although the legislation gained support in government, the focus on regulating groundwater use will result in family farmers and ranchers “dealing with the consequences of the legislation for years to come,” as one California farm leader pointed out.

Causes and solutions are seldom black and white. You’ll find some deep reflection on the details in this edition of the Influence Feed.

CSR Changes for Big Brands

Prominent food manufacturers under scrutiny from consumers and activists are responding — by changing their corporate social responsibility policies. And that has influencers taking notice.

There was positive reaction to the decision by Kellogg Company to address climate change through policy revisions that will reduce the company’s impact on the environment. Nestlé also earned praise for its decision to change its farm practices for animal care.

Other recent influential conversations in the food industry include a debate over sodium intake and whether farming can provide a sustaining livelihood for future generations.

You’ll find a synopsis of the issues that have the food industry talking in this week’s edition of Influence Feed.

Crops In Focus

With planting season finally underway, crops are commanding attention in food and agriculture discussions. The Open Source Seed Initiative stirred excitement from farmers and academics with its launch at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Genetically modified organism (GMO) technology and the organic label continued to stimulate debate, with agriculturalist perspectives gaining momentum over activist views; GMO technology was the topic of a uniquely balanced and respectful dialogue at the University of California, Berkeley, while organic labeling came under unprecedented criticism. Meanwhile, the European Union made waves by effectively banning the import of U.S. apples over use of a pesticide.

Earth Day was on April 22, and influencers widely celebrated and acknowledged the day while using it to assert their viewpoints. At the end of April, the World Health Organization announced that antibiotic resistance is now a worldwide threat, which attracted substantial coverage. In The Netherlands, Maryn McKenna examined innovative broiler chicken housing systems. All the while, the agriculture business was making wide use of the hashtag #plant14, sowing plenty of interest in the crop season among influencer circles.