Agriculture, Beverages & Food

Big corporations bankrolled candidates for the 2012 elections in both the Democratic and Republican parties and bought their votes lock, stock and barrel, contributing over $2 billion out of the $6 billion spent this year. The biggest impact was on a California battle to require labeling of genetically altered products.
Zambia is expected to import genetically modified maize (corn) from the United States to feed its 2.3 million starving citizens, according to the Biotechnology Trust of Africa, a regional charitable trust. Zambia has decided not to follow in the footsteps of hungry Zimbabwe, which two months ago rejected 10,000 metric tons of genetically modified maize from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
PepsiCo, one of the world's largest soft-drink makers, has introduced voluntary restrictions on its advertising to children, in response to rising levels of obesity in the US and western Europe.
Indigenous protesters from northwestern Venezuela marched Friday through the streets of Caracas, which is hosting the sixth World Social Forum (WSF), to protest plans for mining coal on their land.
Anti-tobacco activists have added a new weapon to their arsenal in advance of next month's negotiations in Geneva for a global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Wilmar of Singapore, the world's biggest global processor and merchandiser of palm oil, has come in for harsh criticism for the environmental and social impact of its Indonesian plantations. The allegations also raise serious questions about the role of WWF and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil.