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Vermont steps closer to passing GMO food-labeling law

By Carey Gillam and Lisa Baertlein (Reuters) - The Vermont Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would make it the first U.S. state to enact mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Unlike bills passed last year in Maine and Connecticut, which require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before they can be enacted, Vermont's contains no such trigger clause.

Symrise scents says will buy Diana food for 1.3 bn euros

German company Symrise, specialising in scents and flavours for various industries, is to buy French food ingredient company Diana for 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion), expanding its reach in the food sector, a company statement said. The deal will boost opportunities for Symrise in the fast-growing food and nutrition sector, enabling it to bring together two complementary businesses to compete with bigger players in the sector. Scents and flavouring are key ingredients in many food products.

Bill seeks to block mandatory GMO food labeling by states

By Carey Gillam (Reuters) - A Republican congressman from Kansas introduced legislation on Wednesday that would nullify efforts in multiple states to require labeling of genetically modified foods. The bill, dubbed the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act," was drafted by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo and is aimed at overriding bills in about two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such.

Drought worsens food crisis in poverty-stricken Haiti

The World Food Program sounded an alarm Friday over arid conditions in northwest Haiti that have worsened an already dire food shortage in this impoverished country. "The situation is worrying," said Peter de Clercq, an official at the United Nations, which runs the international food aid agency. The Caribbean country "desperately needs food and nutritional assistance," said de Clercq, deputy special representative for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Nepal Passover feast organisers appeal for food

An orthodox Jewish group appealed Friday to Israeli backpackers visiting Nepal to bring kosher food for what they claim is the world's biggest Passover celebration after a diplomats' strike threatened to cancel the event. Chabad House Nepal, which organises a Passover celebration in Kathmandu every year, attracting hundreds of visitors from around the world, usually relies on the Israeli embassy to help import supplies for the feast to the Himalayan nation.

Violence, rains stoke food supply fears in Nigeria

Nigeria is facing a possible food supply crisis this farming season, traders say, as the agricultural sector grapples with a predicted shorter rainy season, sectarian violence and greater demand from Niger. Food experts have raised the alarm after the country's meteorological agency said this year's rainy season could be shorter than usual, compounding a likely fall in production due to insecurity. Nigeria's agricultural sector is heavily dependent on the rains, with the bulk of its produce cultivated in the north and central region.

Italy to ramp up fight against British food labels

An Italian minister vowed Monday to use his country's upcoming presidency of the European Union to pursue a campaign by southern EU producers against Britain's "traffic light" food labels. Speaking as he went into EU farm ministers' talks, Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said "uniformity" in European food labelling is "a theme we need to put on the agenda".

Federal government wants power to fine meat plants for food safety problems

EDMONTON - The federal government is proposing to give itself the power to fine meat-processing plants that break hygiene and other operating rules meant to protect human health. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the regulatory change would give it another enforcement tool to help protect consumers. But meat industry representatives and a food safety expert are skeptical.

China hit by new flood of dead pigs in river

Chinese authorities have found 157 dead pigs in a river, state media said Wednesday, a year after 16,000 carcasses were discovered in Shanghai's main waterway, underscoring the country's food safety problems. The dead porkers were recovered from the Gan river in Jiangxi, which supplies drinking water to the provincial capital Nanchang and is a tributary of the Yangtze, one of China's main waterways, the official news agency Xinhua said. But tests showed that the tap water remains "safe for drinking", it said, citing Nanchang authorities.

Toronto committee approves food truck rules; bylaw goes to council for approval

TORONTO - A Toronto committee has approved regulations that could double food truck operations in the city and be in effect by the summer if city council passes a new bylaw. The Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee recommends that food trucks be at least 50 metres from a restaurant and at least 30 metres from school property. Ice cream trucks are to operate temporarily on residential streets, and stationary food carts are to operate on some city sidewalks. The annual fees for a vendor would cost over $5,000, including the vendor permit and parking fees.
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