Thursday, May 7, 2015



EPA OK WITH PUTTING SPINACH GENES IN ORANGE TREES: Popeye would be excited about the orange trees that Southern Gardens Citrus wants to grow. The Clewiston, Fla.-based orange juice processor is looking to insert two spinach genes into its trees, helping them to stave off the citrus greening disease now plaguing Florida groves. EPA has granted a temporary exemption from federal rules that govern pesticide residues,  according to a Federal Register notice set to publish Wednesday. EPA says it found, given the long history of human consumption of spinach, there appear to be little or no risks from the use of the genes in citrus plants. The exemption expires April 2018.
Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, EPA must set limits, known as tolerances, for how much of a given pesticide can be present on a given food for it to be safe to consume. The rules also apply to substances used in genetically modified crops to resist pests and diseases. Southern Gardens still needs sign off from the Agriculture Department before the trees can enter the market, however. See the Federal Register notice here: