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Egg prices spike during an outbreak of avian flu during the summer of 2015. (Austin Kirk/Flickr)
Egg prices spike during an outbreak of avian flu during the summer of 2015. (Austin Kirk/Flickr)

You’re about to start paying less for eggs at the grocery store because egg farms are recovering from last year’s bird flu outbreak a bit faster than expected.

The major disease outbreak took the lives of nearly 50 million chickens and turkeys last spring and summer, causing a hiccup in egg production that sent prices upward. But the number of hens nationally is now approaching pre-flu levels, and costs on the farm such as diesel fuel are holding low.

“We’re expecting a recovery more quickly than we initially anticipated,” said economist Annemarie Kuhns with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

DuPont Pioneer is the second-largest seed company in the world. (File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)
DuPont Pioneer is the second-largest seed company in the world. (File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

Science’s hottest new tool looks like it will be coming soon to the Corn Belt.

Iowa’s DuPont Pioneer, the second-largest seed company in the world, announced this week that it plans to sell a new form of corn created with CRISPR-Cas plant breeding technology, the much-ballyhooed gene-editing tool. While the product  still has to undergo field tests and further regulatory review, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says unlike other plants whose genomes have been altered with older technology, DuPont Pioneer’s new variety is not required to undergo review under plant protection protocols.

The company says its new hybrid variety of waxy corn, a corn that contains high levels of starch and is used in both processed food and industrial products, is expected to be available to farmers within five years. Waxy corn is grown on hundreds of thousands of acres, but as FERN’s Chuck Abbott notes, it makes up just a fraction of U.S. corn plantings, which typically exceed 90 million acres.

Demand is growing for GMO-free labels on food products, according to the Non-GMO Project, one of the principle suppliers of the label. (File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)
Demand is growing for GMO-free labels on food products, according to the Non-GMO Project, one of the principle suppliers of the label. (File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

There’s a heated debate happening right now about GMOs and labels.

Big food companies like General Mills, Mars and Kellogg’s say they plan to put labels on their products that tell consumers whether or not the food contains ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants.

So what’s the big deal? What are GMO labels, and what do they tell you? Here are three things you should know.

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