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Sun08202017

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GM food: British public 'should be persuaded of the benefits'

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altThe British public should be persuaded of the benefits of genetically modified food, the environment secretary will tell the UK's farming industry on Thursday, in a key signal of the government's intent to expand agricultural biotechnology and make the case for GM food in Europe.

Owen Paterson, the Conservative secretary of state for the environment and who has chosen to highlight GM technology in his first major speech to farmers, will tell the Oxford Farming Conference: "We should not be afraid of making the case to the public about the potential benefits of GM beyond the food chain - for example, reducing the use of pesticides and inputs such as diesel. I believe that GM offers great opportunities but I also recognise that we owe a duty to the public to reassure them that it is a safe and beneficial innovation."

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EU fishing quotas defy scientific advice, say conservationists

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altFishing fleets will be allowed to extract more fish from European waters than scientists advise is safe next year, after two days and nights of negotiations in Brussels on the EU's fishing quotas. But there may be fewer discards, if predictions by fisheries ministers are correct.

Nearly half of the quotas set were in excess of the best scientific advice, according to the sea conservation organisation Oceana. Greenpeace said the agreement allowed for more fish to be caught than was sustainable, pointing to scientific concerns about overfishing of stocks around Ireland, including in the Irish Sea, north-west of Scotland and in the wider Atlantic waters west of Ireland.

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It's time to cut the obscene amount of Christmas food waste

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altWhether it is because we are suckers for gluttony or incapable of calculating how much we will need to feed our family and friends for the annual Christmas feast, every year British household shamelessly end up chucking away a mountain of surplus festive food. We shop, we eat some of it and bin the rest. Much of it could be re-used and such enormous waste is drain on the environment as well as our finances.

Figures published on Thursday reveal the shocking extent of our thoughtlessness. We throw out the equivalent of 2 million turkeys, 5m Christmas puddings and a truly shocking 74m mince pies, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign run by the government's waste reduction advisory body, Wrap. To put it into context, that means we are binning nearly twice as many mince pies as retail giant Marks & Spencer sells every year (40m).

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Live animal exports face tougher controls over welfare concerns

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altFarmers, transport companies and ship operators involved in the export of live animals face tougher controls over their business as ministers seek to allay welfare concerns over the treatment of livestock.

Government inspectors are already said by ministers to be checking all shipments through Ramsgate in Kent, the only port now involved in the trade – albeit reluctantly – and this will continue until the government is satisfied "there is no longer a high risk" to animals.

Lorry companies and shippers will also not be allowed to give short notice of shipments to the agency, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said on Wednesday. This happened last month in an attempt to evade protests by welfare campaigners at the port where more than 40 sheep had to be destroyed on the advice of the RSPCA after an incident in September.

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Sainsbury's own-brand Maldives tuna to become 100% sustainable

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altSainsbury's is to solely use Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified skipjack tuna from the Maldives in its own label canned product from next year.

Already the UK's largest retailer of MSC-certified sustainable fish in the UK – selling more than 130 products carrying the logo – the supermarket says the move is a significant step forward in protecting the world's tuna stocks.

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