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GMO Labeling Bill Introduced Into Congress

Sen. Barbra Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) have introduced legislation that would require genetically modified foods to be labeled. Otherwise known as the “Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act” this federal legislation would mandate that foods made from genetically modified seeds or other ingredients would need to be labeled.

Bee Decline Linked To Pesticide Use

A class of pesticides called neonicotinoids have been linked to a decline in bees, butterflies and other pollinators. These pesticides were developed to be less harmful to beneficial insects and mammals, but have impacted the ecosystem, resulting in what scientists call Colony Collapse Disorder.

Neonicotinoids have been used since the late 1990’s in crop seeds. The pesticide binds to receptors in an insect’s nervous system killing them and keeping corn and soya bean crops safe. Unfortunately, it appears that collateral damage has occurred in bees and other pollinators who have come in contact with the plants.

European food safety regulators determined that the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam—the three most common neonicotinoids—should be minimized for use in certain crops. It was followed by a proposed two-year ban on these chemicals by the European Union.

Meanwhile, UK grocery chain Waitrose is taking action to avoid stocking shelves with products that have used these pesticides. Recently, bloggers, foodies, and software developers gathered in San Francisco for the Food Hackathon to discuss the future of food technology. The event’s creator, Matt Wise, said the goal is “to harness intellectual and creative capital to focus on innovative ways to solve problems that affect the entire food ecosystem.”

The winner from this year’s event was an iPhone app called Vibrantly. The app helps a user make positive food choices according to a food’s color. Color is important, according to the developer, because studies indicate that it “stimulate[s] your right brain” and will motivate a positive behavioral change. Food color is also linked to nutritional quality and this helps the user make wiser, more health-conscious decisions. The link between food and technology is growing with $350 million invested in related fields during 2012.

Food Hackathon & the Future of Food Technology

Recently, bloggers, foodies, and software developers gathered in San Francisco for the Food Hackathon to discuss the future of food technology. The event’s creator, Matt Wise, said the goal is “to harness intellectual and creative capital to focus on innovative ways to solve problems that affect the entire food ecosystem.”

The winner from this year’s event was an iPhone app called Vibrantly. The app helps a user make positive food choices according to a food’s color. Color is important, according to the developer, because studies indicate that it “stimulate[s] your right brain” and will motivate a positive behavioral change. Food color is also linked to nutritional quality and this helps the user make wiser, more health-conscious decisions. The link between food and technology is growing with $350 million invested in related fields during 2012.

Venture Capitalists Bet Big on Food Start-Ups

Venture capitalists in Silicon Valley have begun making significant investments in food start-ups. The emerging sector offers a lot in terms of investment opportunity.

Investors are excited about fields that have a sustainable or environmental appeal, while others are attracted to the health and fitness angle. Still others see food start-ups as good places to grow technology and advertising related investments.

“There are pretty significant environmental consequences?and health issues associated with sodium or high-fructose corn syrup or eating too much red-meat,” explained Samir Kaul, a partner at Khosla Venture, to the New York Times. “I wouldn’t bet my money that Cargill or ConAgra are going to innovate here. I think it’s going to take start-ups to do that.”

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