The European Commission proposed two categories of plants created from new genomic techniques, such as CRISPR. Those plants that could also occur naturally or through conventional breeding and those with fewer than 20 genetic modifications would be exempt from GMO legislation and labeling. All others would be considered GMOs, and subject to risk assessments and authorization. The proposal would need to be approved by the European Parliament and EU governments.
The UK's Council on Geostrategy published an overview of how to negotiate with Chinese counterparts, based on diplomatic experience.
India agreed to remove tariffs on certain U.S. products, including chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, boric acid, and diagnostic reagents.
Single-use plastics, including but not limited to bowls, plates, trays and cutlery, will be banned in the United Kingdom beginning October 1, 2023. Soft drink bottles and some other types of packaging are excluded from the ban.
The Soil Association Standards for Great Britain, Organic Standards for Great Britain, the Soil Association Standards for Northern Ireland, and the Organic Standards for Northern Ireland have been updated.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency changed its guidance for pre-market clearance for seeds. Despite protest from the organic sector, the changes will require pre-market clearance for any plant that releases seeds into the environment only when the plant contains foreign DNA; the plant has a new commercially viable herbicide tolerance trait; or, the plant is of a new crop species or is intended for new uses in Canada. This paves the way for gene-edited seeds to enter the marketplace without pre-approval. As a result of organic sector concerns, the government created a Government-Industry Steering Committee on Plant Breeding Innovations Transparency and will oversee a private sector Canadian Variety Transparency Database.
The Black Sea Grain Food Security Dashboard will help visualize market share of grains and oil seeds and the impacts Black Sea trade disruption can have on food access in various countries.
European Union has proposed revisions to its legislation on packaging and packaging waste. If the proposal is approved, by January 2030 all packaging would be required to be recyclable, and some packaging would have to be compostable, among other criteria.
Sales of organic food declined in three key European markets in 2022, in part due to inflation and poor economic conditions for consumers. In Denmark, organic food sales dropped 3%, with meat sales particularly hard-hit. Organic food sales in Germany dropped 4.1% during January to October 2022, although annual sales were expected to reach €15 billion, €2.7 billion more than in 2019. In 2022, sales of organic food in France declined of 6.3%.
The European Parliament has passed anti-deforestration measures that, once formally endorsed by the Council, would require key goods sold in or exported from Europe to come from supply chains that do not degrade forests in Europe or around the world. Products include palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber, and rubber, and products derived from them. The regulations include due diligence and traceability requirements for operators and traders.
Chinese shoppers consider the sustainability of products as part of the factors that influence purchase. For food and beverage, about 40% of consumers include “healthy and green” as a top consideration. For both the clothing and personal care categories, about 23% consider if the product includes “organic/green/sustainable materials or production.”
Canadian agricultural producers will have access to a new set of federal and provincial programs under the new $3.5 billion CAD, five-year Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP).
The agreement includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs and activities funded by federal, provincial and territorial governments.
To best support producers with on-farm adoption of beneficial practices while reflecting local conditions and regional needs, the program will be designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
After a decade of effort from New Zealand’s organic community, Parliament passed the Organic Products and Production Act on March 30, 2023. The new legislation will not have legal effect until the national standard and regulations are developed and in place. Then, there will be a three-year implementation period before the new system is mandatory.
The government will increase payments by an average of 25% for farmers who convert to organic through the Countryside Stewardship program. Farmers must be enrolled in a certification program before applying for the funding by August 18, 2023. Payments are also available for farming practices that are aligned with organic practices through the new Sustainable Farming Incentives program.
Pakistan’s National Agriculture Research Center will offer an organic agriculture support facility and set up a certification authority, according to the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council.
The European Union has authorized one genetically modified soybean variety and one genetically modified rapeseed variety for use in food and animal feed, but not for cultivation. The authorizations are valid for 10 years.
The United Kingdom’s organic market hit £3.1 billion in 2022, up 1.6% from 2021, according to the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2023, despite challenging economic conditions hitting people’s pocketbooks. Foodservice sales grew 152% in 2022 to reach £195.5 million. In the past three years, the UK’s organic food and drink market has grown 25.4%.
The new Arid Institute of Organic Agriculture, which resulted from a memorandum of understanding between Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, The Thünen-Institute, Germany, and Pakistan Organic Association, will develop and implement a National Organic Agriculture program, including laws regulations and labeling.
The United States Agency for International Development and Olam Food Ingredients are working together to invest $8.1 million to help 1000 of Peru’s small farms to shift to organic coffee production, increase production, and improve quality.
China plans to plant about 660,000 acres, or less than 1% of its corn fields with genetically modified corn this year. The move is a departure from previous policy which rarely allowed cultivation of GMO food crops.