Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dec. 17 - Coming soon and top headlines

Speaking on background, one source told me that the target date for a news release concerning the long awaited sustainability/stewardship index was Dec. 18 - subject to change, of course. Still some drama to be played out between the USDA and the Leonardo Academy relative to their sustainability standard setting effort.....

More headlines for today....

FDA chief to resign at end of Bush term
Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach will resign..successor not named yet

A cautious farm and food pick From The Nation, the liberal take:

As governor of Iowa, Vilsack had to engage with farm issues. But that embrace was anything but inspired. Family farm activists, fair-trade campaigners and advocates for organic foods were regularly disappointed by the stands he took. The Organic Consumers Association was blunt, declaring: "Vilsack has a glowing reputation as being a shill for agribusiness biotech giants like Monsanto."

Natural and organic consumers not giving up
The spin from this study by an organic and natural foods marketers is positive for the sector, though it acknowledges that 18% of consumers are planning significant adjustments to their natural and organic buying patterns.

Kenya embraces biotechnology
USDA FAS report

Nanotechnology may be used for food safety

Reopening NAFTA would have consequences USDA FAS report translate a story in the Mexican press stating officials there believe renegotiation of NAFTA could hurt progress of tomatoes, avocados and other horticultural commodities in the U.S. market.

Food poverty soars in NYC
About 3.5 million New Yorkers concerned about needing food assistance in the next year

Obesity tax stirs anger
Proposed tax on sugared soda angers American Beverage Association, among others

Obama calls for broad strategy to fight recession

Housing starts drop 18.9% Slowest pace in the post WWII era

To have and have not: income inequality grows in U.S.
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports that the incomes of the country's highest income families has climbed substantially since the late 1980s, while middle and lower income families have only seen modest increases. The trend accelerated in the late 1990s to mid-2000s, the study says.

Southwest border fence hits 500 mile mark
600 miles to be complete by Jan. 20, DHS says

McCain unsure of Obama immigration priority

New employment, labor and discrimination laws passed in 2008
Summary of new labor related laws that will go into effect Jan. 1

Healthy diet can keep breast cancer away
More coverage of the research in the news from UC-Davis

Cheap is the new chic: generic brands grow
Cheaper store brands expand influence

U.S. retail tracker raises holiday expectations for Wal-Mart
Over a recent weekend, Wal-Mart had as many shoppers as Target, J.C. Penney, Toys R US and Sears - combined! Two thirds of Americans visited Wal-Mart over the weekend.

Canada's working poor increasing need food banks

Roubini: recession to continue in 2009
Dr. Doom doesn't disappoint; another scary forecast:

Things are going to be awful for everyday people. U.S. GDP growth is going to be negative through the end of 2009. And the recovery in 2010 and 2011, if there is one, is going to be so weak - with a growth rate of 1% to 1.5% - that it's going to feel like a recession. I see the unemployment rate peaking at around 9% by 2010. The value of homes has already fallen 25%. In my view, home prices are going to fall by another 15% before bottoming out in 2010.

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