All the News That Fits

Editor's Letter

All the News That Fits

“BREAKING NEWS” IS NOT SOMETHING that means much to a quarterly magazine, but many of the issues we address—on this page, in Good Stuff or as feature material— remain pertinent even though they may not still be in the headlines. We thought it would be a good idea to offer an update on a few of the more important items, just to keep the fire hot, so to speak.

  • On GMOs: In a study of bumblebees and genetically modified plants, researchers found that bees whose primary source of nectar was from GMO plants developed hard growths in their gut that eventually clogged and killed them, while those whose sources were unmodified did not develop the clots. This supports the notion that the altered genetic structure of GMO food may subtly change its chemical makeup into something the animal that consumes it is not adapted to handle properly, a notion that seems to be supported by the number of aborted, deformed or dead calves reportedly born to cattle raised on GMO feed. (Correlations between GMO food consumption and the apparent increase in autism, celiac disease, early onset Parkinson’s, asthma and severe food allergies in humans are anecdotal and not supported with data. Yet.)
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  • On glyphosate: A researcher at the University of California recently published a paper advancing the notion that bees are dying by the millions because the plants they visit are not sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate), the world’s most widely used pesticide. Plants sprayed with Roundup, he concluded, are not infested with the mites, bacteria and various other critters that can kill the bees. In other words, the organic plants bees have depended upon for several million years are dangerous to their health—spraying the plants with deadly chemicals actually helps the bees survive. You can’t make this stuff up.
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  • On federal GMO labeling: The federal GMO labeling law that threatened to usurp states’ rights to enact their own labeling regulations seems to have lost some of its momentum. No, Monsanto hasn’t run out of money or lobbyists; the bill passed the House but is held up in Senate committee. One government watchdog group gives the bill about a 30 percent chance of being passed.
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  • On state GMO labeling: In April, a federal judge cleared the way for Vermont to enact its GMO disclosure law, overruling heavy pressure from food industry groups and others. The law, which will require identification of any GMO ingredient in packaged, unpackaged or processed food, will go into effect July 1, 2016; Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrel says that a year is ample time for manufacturers and retailers to prepare.
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  • On fracking: It’s official—fracking is now banned throughout New York State. As we reported, the bill passed earlier this year, but it wasn’t officially enacted until June 28. This was especially good news for Sullivan County, which already was being eyed by gas drillers from Pennsylvania, just across the Delaware.
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  • On good eating: There’s even more good news, and you heard it here first: Restaurant Week is coming again in November. Two weeks, 200 restaurants, a quarter of a million hungry people, one big, long valley. We confirmed it with several hundred sources: It doesn’t get much better.

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