Search Results for ‘gmo’

Trans fats banned! Now make way for palm and coconut oil, GMOs…

Pushed by a lawsuit, the Food and Drug Administration has followed through and banned the use of trans fats in processed food: producers have three years to phase out the substance. I’ve got a new piece at Cato making a few basic points: the move is sheer paternalism, it’s setting a precedent (against voluntary consumer assumption of even small risks) that activists are eager to roll out against other ingredients like salt and sugar, it’s not popular with the public (this poll finds a plurality, not majority, going along, while this one finds majorities opposed). And voluntary consumer adjustments (trans fat consumption is down by an estimated 85 percent) have already cut Americans’ average daily intake to half of what the American Heart Association recommends.

Then there’s the sadly ironic history of the whole subject: trans fats were avidly promoted at the time by the same sorts of public health activists and government nutritionists who now push for a ban. CNN:

Dr. Steven Nissen, the chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, praised the FDA for its “bold courage” and said it “deserves a lot of credit” for taking this “enormously important” move.

“In many ways, trans fat is a real tragic story for the American diet,” Nissen said. “In the 1950s and ’60s, we mistakenly told Americans that butter and eggs were bad for them and pushed people to margarine, which is basically trans fat. What we’ve learned now is that saturated fat is relatively neutral — it is the trans fat that is really harmful and we had made the dietary situation worse.”

Or as my colleague Scott Lincicome puts it, “Food tyranny didn’t fail. It just needed better managers”

Now make way for the most popular, and still legal, substitutes for trans fats: tropical palm and coconut oils, each with problems of its own. And an even better prospect — the next panic? –is GMO-derived high-oleic soybean oil.

My Cato piece is here. And I made the WSJ’s Notable & Quotable today on this subject, which is always nice.

Retract our anti-GMO study? See you in court

French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini is not taking particularly gracefully the withdrawal of “a controversial and much-criticized study suggesting genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats” [Reuters]:

“Were FCT [Reed Elsevier’s journal Food and Chemical Toxicology] to persist in its decision to retract our study, CRIIGEN would attack with lawyers, including in the United States, to require financial compensation for the huge damage to our group,” he said in a statement.

CRIIGEN is short for the group with which Seralini has worked, the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering.

Washington voters reject GMO labeling

Following the example of California voters, Evergreen State voters were turning down the measure by a 45-55 margin at latest count [KING]. Less happily, the town of SeaTac south of Seattle will now experiment with a $15 minimum wage [same], and those in New Jersey are inscribing an indexed minimum wage into their state constitution. [Star-Ledger] Voters in Westchester County, N.Y. chose to retain County Executive Rob Astorino, whose battles with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have been chronicled in this space. [White Plains Patch]

More: Quirky soapmaker Dr. Bronner used its own product labels to crusade for the unsuccessful GMO bill. Thank you, Citizens United, for protecting its freedom to do so! [Caleb Brown]

OMG NYT OKs GMOs

“[T]here is no reliable evidence that genetically modified foods now on the market pose any risk to consumers,” says an editorial in, of all places, the New York Times. [“Why Label Genetically Engineered Food?“]

And while on the subject of publications outperforming expectations, Slate features a sober look at “cancer clusters,” with George Johnson reviewing a new book on the Toms River, N.J. episode.

About that “GMO food causes rat tumors” report

Don’t miss multiple posts by BoingBoing’s Maggie Koerth-Baker on the shoddy science behind a recent alarmist report. It’s all the more noteworthy because one of her BB colleagues was at first taken in by the report, requiring an awkward rowback that developed into a crusade of its own against bad activist science. Earlier on Prop 37 and the California political angle here, etc.

Prop 37 and GMOs, cont’d

The California proposition [earlier here, here, and here] is now running into a wave of disapproving editorials in California newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee. Tyler Cowen administers a well deserved rebuke to tendentious NYT food-policy columnist Mark Bittman [Marginal Revolution and followup] Also check out the analysis by Jonathan Adler [“How Not to Label Biotech Foods,” New Atlantis] and Baylen Linnekin [“California’s GMO Labeling Law Isn’t the Answer,” Reason] And in California Political Review, John Hrabe notes my Daily Caller piece in the course of observations about the ambition of some Californians to play regulator to the world. (& Matt Bogard)

Somewhat relatedly, it is now clear that Vitamin-A-laden golden rice could fight child blindness arising from nutritional deficiency in the underdeveloped world; alas, it’s being held back by Greenpeace anti-GMO efforts [Margaret Wente/Toronto Globe and Mail; Art Caplan, NBC]

Environment roundup

  • Organized efforts mount to blockade, shut down, and ban oil and gas infrastructure [David Roberts/Vox; Kevon Paynter] My two cents on Baltimore’s ban on new or expanded crude oil terminals, which follows moves against fuel infrastructure in Oakland and Portland [Free State Notes] Massachusetts judge approves “necessity defense” raised by protesters who blocked work on pipeline [Erin Mundahl, Inside Sources]
  • Related: calls to ban hydrocarbon (even gas) utility generation stir backlash among some Democrats [Amy Harder, Axios] And not illogically given the distributional effects [Ronald Bailey, Reason]
  • “$18 Billion Prize,” new stage play about Chevron/Ecuador case by Phelim McAleer and Jonathan Leaf, ruffles some Bay Area feathers [Daniel Kennard, National Review]
  • Questions about curious study of GMO safety [Dan Vergano, BuzzFeed]
  • “Creative Regulators and Environmental Protection,” Federalist Society panel video with C. Boyden Gray, Adam White, Robert Glicksman, Nathan Richardson, Caroline Cecot;
  • Europe optimizes its train system for passengers, while U.S. optimizes its for freight. Which is the greener choice? [Coyote]

Banking and finance roundup

  • Using regulation to stomp political adversaries endangers rule of law: Gov. Cuomo directs New York financial regulators to pressure banks, insurers to break ties with National Rifle Association (NRA) [J.D. Tuccille, Reason]
  • My opinion piece on New Jersey governor’s scheme for a state bank has now escaped its WSJ paywall; WSJ readers respond [letters] And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-N.Y.] has now introduced a plan to get the federal government into retail banking via the post office [Daniel Marans, Huffington Post, quoting Gillibrand’s interesting claim that “Literally the only person who is going to be against this is somebody who wants to protect payday lender profits.”] More: Nick Zaiac on postal banking;
  • “From Kelo to Starr: Not Merely an Unlawful Taking but an Illegal Exaction” [Philip Hamburger on federal government’s acquisition of a dominant equity stake in AIG]
  • Court’s opinion on consumer debt contract formed in New York specifying Delaware law undermines “valid-when-made” doctrine that promotes liquidity of secondary debt market [Diego Zuluaga, Cato]
  • ‚ÄúSome blockchains, as currently designed, are incompatible with” the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation [Olga Kharif, Bloomberg via Tyler Cowen]
  • And if you’re interested in the legal constraints holding back the extension of banking services to the cannabis industry, tune in to a Cato conference on that subject May 10.