CAST Readies for Autumn Rush—Several Publications Approaching Release Dates

July 1, 2015

Summertime—and the livin’ is supposed to be easy. But at CAST the focus is on a flurry of publications that will be released during the next few months. This fall, policymakers and the general public will benefit from the science-based information coming from an issue paper about food labels and a commentary regarding bioenergy production. Publications about omega-3 fatty acids, free-range poultry, and developing young leaders in agriculture will follow. CAST is also involved in an ambitious 12-paper project to look at specific programs, policies, and techniques that will advance global food security. Here are some of the details:

Process Labeling of Food: Consumer Behavior, the Agricultural Sector, and Policy Recommendations (Issue Paper)   
Ingredients such as ammonium sulfate and azodicarbonamide can have legitimate purposes when they show up in food products—but a consumer in the aisle might hesitate when seeing such words listed on the side of a package. We live in a world of labels, and even though information is crucial, some labeling leads to confusion, negative views, and misunderstanding. The authors of this paper look at the impact labeling has on the food industry—the choices consumers make, the way labeling affects the adoption of technology, and the influence labeling might have on the amount of money spent for research and product development. Legislators, regulatory officials, and consumers will benefit from the thoughtful, science-based information in this issue paper.

Bioenergy Production Does Not Have to Result in Biological Invasions: A Life-cycle Approach (Commentary)
Market forces and public sentiment support the development of biofuel feedstocks in an effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, expand energy production, and maintain economic growth—but several potential problems accompany such moves. The authors of this commentary will examine the possible negative impacts arising from the use of biofuel feedstocks, including (1) competition for land use and food production, (2) effects on wildlife and ecosystems, and (3) influences on aquatic systems and water use. They conclude that the introduction and development of biofuels should be conducted in a thoughtful manner that involves minimal risk—avoiding the “kudzu effect.”

CAST Board Members have sanctioned work on several more timely research papers--see this Annotated Forthcoming list for details. Issue papers about gene editing, crop protection, and irrigation are the latest approved topics in the Agricultural Innovation series. Led by teams of experts, the 12-paper project will focus on smart science and intelligent innovation--the dramatic changes needed to accelerate productivity in crop and animal systems while reducing negative impacts on the environment. CAST will present the work to policymakers, corporate leaders, government officials, NGOs, students, stakeholder groups, and the general public.