A bill that would prevent states from issuing mandatory labeling laws for foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is on its way to the Senate. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) plans to introduce the bill if he can get a Democratic co-sponsor and enough support in the Senate to move it through the upper chamber. "It has to be bipartisan and it has to get enough votes to pass," Hoeven’s press secretary told The Hill. The legislation would be a companion bill to the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act that passed the House in July and creates a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of foods with GMO ingredients.
H.R. 2051, theAgriculture Reauthorizations Actof 2015, cleared the House by a voice vote on Sept. 29. The bill, passed by the Senate Sept. 21, now heads to President Obama for his signature. The legislation reauthorizes the U.S. Grain Standards Act through 2020. Included in this reauthorization is language that improves predictability and transparency for U.S. commodity producers, exporters and trading partners through increased reporting and certification requirements. The authorizations expired Sept. 30, and without congressional action, the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration would have lost the authority to collect fees for grain inspections.
Railroad companies are warning of potential service disruptions if the deadline for implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) is not extended by Congress. PTC is a GPS-based train electronic system designed to prevent collisions and over-speed derailments mandated on certain rail lines by Jan. 1, 2016 under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. None of the railroads will meet this deadline and they are asking Congress for an extension. The railroads have issued public statements cautioning that they may cease any grain shipments and possibly all train movements if the deadline is not extended. The highway bill passed by the Senate in July includes a three-year extension of the PTC deadline. However, it is unlikely the bill will be enacted by the end of the year and Congress may need to explore other options. Read more on the U.S. Canola Association’s blog.
Despite recent warnings to growers to beware of jimsonweed, experts say there is no need to worry about the plant causing canola oil to become toxic, reported Crop Protection News. Jimsonweed, aka devil’s trumpet, can be poisonous and may be dangerous when ingested by humans or animals. However, heating during canola’s processing destroys the plant’s potential toxicity, making processed oil and meal safe for consumption. Jimsonweed thrives in hot, dry climates and can be found throughout the U.S.
Amendments to the proposed Crucifer Quarantine Rule addressing the potential threat of blackleg in Washington State will take effect Oct. 25. Under the new rule, eastern Washington is included in the quarantine area that previously applied only to five counties in western Washington. Seed to be planted in the eastern Washington regulated area must be laboratory-tested and found free of blackleg. Seed that has tested negative for blackleg does not have to be treated. Read more on the U.S. Canola Association’s blog.
North Dakota State University was awarded $200,000 in federal funding to expand its canola research and help increase grower productivity. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, according to an AP report. About 90 percent of the canola grown in the United States comes from North Dakota.
Research from the University of Illinois demonstrated that new higher protein canola meal can be used successfully in pig feed. Conventional canola meal is already used as an alternative to soybean meal in pig diets, but the effects of high-protein meal had not been thoroughly tested. The Pig Site reported that the study found no difference in growth performance between conventional and high-protein canola meal. The results indicated that either type of canola meal can used at an inclusion rate of 20 to 40 percent.
Data from the 2015 growing season is under analysis for three research projects managed by the Minnesota Canola Council (MCC). The research focuses on priorities for Minnesota producers, including a study that aims to determine if soybean yield is greater following canola than wheat, and if canola yield is greater following soybean than wheat. The study “Improving Canola Yields and Quality Through Disease BMP” provides information on critical windows required to protect canola from blackleg and sclerotinia. Topics researched at the Minnesota Canola Production Centre in 2015 included nitrogen fertility rate, source, and timing; variety and systems comparison; and canola row spacing/plant population. Preliminary results will be reported at the MCC’s Annual Conference Dec. 16 in Roseau, Minn.
Recent research from the University of Tasmania found that canola-fed sheep produce meat high in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and lower in saturated fats. The researchers discovered that when sheep are fed pellets laced with 5 percent polyunsaturated oils such as canola oil, the oil is transferred to the meat. Sheep meat does not naturally contain omega-3 fats. A chef that tested three samples—one fed canola oil, one fed rice bran oil and one fed a traditional diet—told Australia’s ABC News that the canola-fed lamb tasted the best.
Canola oil’s neutral flavor and high smoke point make it a favorite for many chefs, and as fried food becomes increasingly popular, the oil is finding its way into trendy kitchens across the country. “[Canola oil] performs well and doesn’t degrade quickly,” one chef told Nation’s Restaurant News. “It’s an excellent all-purpose frying oil for us.” Health-conscious customers care what oil their food is fried in, too: Seventy-five percent of consumers are interested in the type of oil a restaurant uses and 55 percent said they would be more likely to eat at restaurants using oils lower in saturated fat, according to a consumer study by the United Soybean Board.
Healthy muffins don’t have to be dry or rubbery, wrote Ellie Krieger in The Washington Post. She presented her whole-grain apple crumb muffin recipe as proof. The recipe calls for swapping butter with a combination of canola oil and apple sauce to maintain moistness and a cake-like quality, which lowers the saturated fat content. “You can feel good about enjoying them with your latte for breakfast – proof that you don’t have to choose between something that’s good for you and something that’s utterly scrumptious,” Krieger wrote.
Other Country News
A change in China’s rapeseed subsidy may boost canola imports from other countries, reported The Western Producer. China eliminated its national floor price for canola and is allowing the provinces to create their own subsidy programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that four of the nine rapeseed-growing provinces have announced their subsidy program and sources believe rapeseed farmers’ incomes in 2015-16 will be significantly lower than the floor price per ton the previous year. This should result in decreased production in China and thus increased imports into the country.
Land damaged by the 2011 tsunami in Japan is recovering with a little help from canola flowers. Environmental non-profit United Green planted canola flowers on farmland that was either damaged by salt or abandoned, in an effort to develop a sustainable industry and beautify the landscape. Shipping corporation NYK partnered with United Green to maintain a canola flower field on the Sanriku shoreline with help from volunteers within the company. The oil produced from the canola flowers will be sold under the brand name Yuicco.
Cootamundra Oilseeds, a canola processor in Australia, is using a new processing technique that has doubled its production of canola oil. The company’s new $10 million factory produces cold-pressed or virgin canola oil, as well as meal for livestock feed. "There is the ability here to take the first press and separate that and market it as an edible oil," General Manager Andrew Puckeridge told Australia’s ABC News. "It's been pressed through the expellers and as the oil drops out, that's being put into a bottle. We were not able to do that before, we had to blend the first and second press.” The processor is hoping the new technique will help meet Australia’s demand for premium canola oil.
Latest Industry News
Legumex Walker, a Canada-based handler of canola, plans to liquidate. The company will sell its special crops division, which handles sunflower seeds, flax, canary seed and pulses, to the Scoular Company. Scoular is a U.S.-based agricultural marketing company that manages supply chain risk for global suppliers and end-users of grains, oilseeds, and other food ingredients. Canola Quick Bytes previously reported that Legumex Walker's Pacific Coast Canola crushing plant defaulted on a $54.6 million loan, putting its operation in Warden, Wash., at risk.
Droughts are shrinking canola’s profit margins in Canada. The price of canola has increased 5.8 percent this year and supply has dropped due to dry conditions in Alberta and Saskatchewan. As a result, crush margins dipped to $31.30/metric ton, down 54 percent from a year, reported Business News Network. Some companies may already be operating at a loss as they expand their crush facilities in Canada.
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