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Period: January 22, 2011 to January 29, 2011
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Companies, Organizations  

OTA Advocates Protection Of Organic Farmers As GE Seeds Advance To Commercialization

At a House of Representatives members forum on genetically-engineered (GE)  alfalfa, the U.S. Organic Trade Association (OTA) expressed strong support for a recent USDA proposal to consider the economic consequences of unrestricted deregulation of Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready (RR) alfalfa, including the impact on organic agriculture and products in the United States. The OTA said it believes the department has the authority to oversee GE crop commercialization and protect organic farmers. The member forum was organized to question USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on whether the USDA has the authority to consider conditional deregulation of RR Alfalfa. The OTA advocated a “meaningful co-existence” between organic and conventional farmers that would protect seed purity for organic farmers’ use, compensate organic farmers for contamination losses and require USDA oversight of GE crop commercialization.

"Organic industry wants farmers protected in the marketplace And USDA has authority to do so", News release, Organic Trade Association , January 20, 2011

Illegal Steroid-Based Muscle-Enhancing Supplements Are Easily Obtainable Online

Steroid compounds banned by the federal government have crept back into muscle-building dietary supplements and are available online at such retail outlets as Amazon.com, according to press reports. Two representatives of the nonprofit Anti-Doping Research Group of Los Angeles, Calif., tested four muscle-building supplements they  purchased and found illegal steroids in three of them. Amazon has since removed several of the products, manufactured by Competitive Edge Labs, from the site. According to Don Caitlin, CEO of Anti-Doping Research Group, the purchase and testing effort was not meant to target Amazon, but to show the wide availability of  adulterated products. "Our interest is in protecting the unsuspecting consumer from being able to buy these products, take them without knowing what they really are, and put themselves in the hospital," Caitlin said.

" Amazon.com sells banned steroids posing as supplements, researchers find", Functional Ingredients/New Hope360, January 20, 2011

Products & Brands  

Scientists Isolate Food-Borne Bacterial Strain That Targets The Heart

Certain strains of the food-borne bacterium Listeria monocytogenes are able to invade the heart and lead to serious and difficult-to-treat heart infections in vulnerable populations, according to U.S. researchers. Listeria is often found in soft cheeses and chilled ready-to-eat products. Infections from listeria are usually mild in healthy individuals, but can cause serious illness in the elderly and other susceptible people. More than a third of listeria-related heart infections are fatal. Researchers found that mice infected with the cardiac isolate had 10 times as much bacteria in their hearts. But in the spleen and liver the levels of bacteria were equal in both groups of mice. The researchers concluded that cardiac-associated strains display modified proteins on their surface that enable the bacteria to easily enter cardiac cells, targeting and infecting the heart.

"Evidence for subpopulations of Listeria monocytogenes with enhanced invasion of cardiac cells", Journal of Medical Microbiology, January 25, 2011

Leaked Diplomatic Cables Show U.S. Pressure On Europe To Support GM Crops

The U.S. State Department has been actively lobbying European countries to support genetically modified (GM) crops, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. For example, in 2007 the U.S. Embassy in Paris called on State to create a “retaliation list” of  EU member states that oppose GM crops. France has taken steps to ban a GM maize strain produced by Monsanto, temporarily halting marketing and cultivation of the MON 810 strain within its borders. The crop is authorized in all EU countries. "Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU," U.S. Ambassador Craig Stapleton wrote on December 14, 2007. Other countries targeted for pressure included Spain and the Vatican, according to the WikiLeaks disclosures.

"US lobbied EU to back GM crops", News release, EurActiv, January 04, 2011

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