Geoduck Ban Lifted & Canada Ponders Tariffs
Last week China lifted the ban on Washington State geoducks. The ban was put into place over concerns of toxins but those claims were suspect since it was a fungal disease that only affected crab apples. China had imported about 90% of Washington State's geoducks. Producer Brian Sheldon says this is good news for northwest shellfish producers.
SHELDON: The impact it was having on other species, namely the geoduck out of mostly the Puget Sound was drastic and eventually like any type of food source they would have had to find a home for that so eventually it would have trickled down and started imp acing all of our markets for shellfish.
Canada has questioned the country-of-origin labeling law - saying it is more restrictive and harmful to Canadian beef cattle and pigs imported into the U.S. than an earlier version of COOL that was in violation of World Trade Organization rules. Canada's Agriculture Minister has announced they are ready to impose tariffs on certain U.S. ag goods once it gets approval from the WTO who is expected to announce its decision as early as this fall. If the WTO rules in favor of Canada - retaliatory tariffs could target beef, pork, cereals, baked goods and fresh fruit.
Now with today's Food Forethought, here's Lacy Gray.
Both Washington and California consumers voted no on Initiatives for GMO food labeling. Vermont voters on the other hand recently passed a bill that will require the labeling of all foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops by July 2016. The GMO food labeling war has prompted numerous studies on the subject. The latest study released from Cornell University found that a GMO food labeling law such as the one passed in Vermont and now being considered in New York would cost a family of four roughly $500 more a year, perhaps even upwards of $800. As I have said before, here in lies the rub. A large percentage of consumers admit to not knowing a lot about GMO foods and whether they pose any actual health risks. Their fear is that they might; stressing the point that GMO labeling isn't so much about the health dangers of genetically modified foods, but about the consumer's right to know what's in their food. Consumers remain split down the middle when it comes to really caring whether the foods they eat have been genetically modified. The bottom line for most consumers is "what is biotech labeling going to cost me?" Apparently, quite a lot.
Thanks Lacy. That's today's Northwest Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.