Free trade agreements are about much more than exports and imports. The pending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries covering 40 percent of the global economy. Its 30 chapters include binding rules on investment, food safety and labeling, patents on medicines, foods and plants, among other issues. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S.
In recent months, the meat industry has been getting a lot of attention: restaurants have said they will phase out eggs from farms that cage birds; major meat companies and retailers have said that they will phase out the use of “antibiotics for human use. But little attention is paid to people who work in the meat industry.
The EU and US have very different rules on the treatment of farm animals. The EU recognizes animals as sentient beings and requires Member states to respect their welfare, banning some of the worst forms of cruelty, many of which are common in the United States. Progress has been more limited in the U.S., but animal welfare activists won a major victory with California’s passage of a new law banning eggs produced in battery cages.
The die-off of bees and other pollinators poses an enormous threat to our food and agriculture system and environment. A growing body of scientific evidence points to neonicotinoids (neonics), a class of systemic pesticides, as a primary cause of the massive decline of bees. Last year the EU imposed a moratorium on certain neonics, and a broader review of harmful pesticides is underway. Environmental and agriculture organizations are pushing for a ban in the U.S. at both the state and federal levels, and several cities have already banned neonics.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats to public health. Margeret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization has warned, “A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”
On June 16, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack cautioned European Union members against raising health or safety risks when banning the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The debate over GMOs is intensifying as agribusiness on both sides of the Atlantic attempt to weaken standards on genetically modified organisms and their labeling through a new trade agreement.
One of the flashpoints in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks is the pressure to bring EU standards to U.S. levels in ways that expand the use of industrial agriculture despite the risks to human and animal health and worker safety. A range of issues are on the table including the EU's refusal to allow imports of chicken rinsed in chlorine and other harsh chemicals and the use of Ractopamine in pork production. Please join us for a webinar to learn about the trade, food safety and labor rights issues involved in this debate.
On the occasion the third round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) invite you to join us for a webinar on the agreement's potential impacts on agriculture in the U.S. and EU. The negotiations lack transparency, but all indications are that the TTIP agreement could result in lower standards on food safety and food additives and rules that would undermine flourishing local foods programs in the U.S. and EU.
The ongoing drought in the U.S. and threats of food crises around the world point to the need for new solutions to cope with unstable weather and harvests. Since the first food price crisis in 2008, IATP, along with a growing number of civil society organizations, researchers and governments, have renewed and refocused work on grain reserves as a response to significantly diminished food stocks for international markets and an important instrument to build food security. In July 2012, IATP released Grain Reserves and the Food Price Crisis: Selected Writings from 2008--2012.
Global diets are increasingly facing the dual challenge of undernourishment and obesity. UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, has released a new report calling for a reassessment of unhealthy food systems in both rich and poor countries. Both are increasingly characterized by an abundance of low nutrition, high calorie, processed foods. A recent study by Sarah Clark, Corinna Hawkes, Sophia Murphy, Karen Hansen-Kuhn and David Wallinga in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health examines the role U.S.