The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.
July 27th, 2015
This spring 17 certified organic farmers signed on to a letter to Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey asking him to withdraw the company’s “Responsibly Grown” produce labeling program, at least temporarily. The farmers, all of whom sell produce to the 400+-store high-end grocery chain, objected to having to pay for the grocer’s marketing program and to the fact that non-organic produce could qualify to be labeled “GOOD,” “BETTER,” or even “BEST” under the program.
The Cornucopia Institute supported these growers, as did many other certified organic farmers and consumers around the country. It was a righteous fight – what we called “Robin Hood in reverse.” Here was a corporation, with a market capitalization exceeding $14.5 billion, asking mostly family-scale farmers, some of the best farmers in this industry, to pony up between $5,000 and $20,000 to comply with the program’s reporting requirements and, for some, purchase new equipment. That’s not an inconsequential amount for small- and medium-sized family farms. And the added record-keeping labor could crush some mom-and-pop outfits.
But most of all, the farmers philosophically took exception to one corporation, hiring their own private scientist, coming up with a list of good and bad agrichemicals. Most organic consumers don’t want to pick or choose. They buy organic and they shop at stores like Whole Foods because they don’t want to treat their children like laboratory rats. Read Full Article »
July 27th, 2015
by Anthony Esposito
Chile’s salmon farmers are using record levels of antibiotics to treat a virulent and pervasive bacteria, driving away some U.S. retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp, which is turning to antibiotic-free Norwegian salmon.
The coastal waters of Chile, the world’s second-largest producer of salmon, are awash with a bacteria known as SRS, or Piscirickettsiosis. The bacteria causes lesions and haemorrhaging in infected fish, and swells their kidneys and spleens, eventually killing them.
Unable to develop an effective vaccine, Chilean farmers have been forced to increase antibiotic use. In 2014, the industry produced around 895,000 tonnes of fish and used 563,200 kilograms (1.2 million pounds) of antibiotics, according to government and industry data. Antibiotic use had risen 25 percent from 2013. Read Full Article »
July 24th, 2015
Rodale’s Organic Life
by Eesther Crain
Share this with friends and family that are still on the fence.
Ever since the USDA Organic label began showing up on some food labels in the early 2000s, a debate has raged over whether crops grown without chemical additives and fertilizers rack up more nutrition than their conventional counterparts. Now, a new review of 343 previous studies throws its support behind the pro-organic side. Researchers writing in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic crops and products made with them (such as cereal) pack 17 percent more antioxidants on average—with levels of some subtypes of antioxidants as much as 69 percent higher. The research team also reported four times more pesticide residue on non-organic foods, as well as significantly lower amounts of some toxic metals in the organic-grown items. Read Full Article »
July 24th, 2015
by Philip Brasher
The food industry’s campaign to stop states from requiring labels on genetically engineered products faces an uncertain future in the Senate following a landmark, bipartisan victory in the House.
With support from 45 Democrats, the House voted 275-150 on Thursday to approve the Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act (HR 1599), which in addition to preempting state GMO labeling requirements would set up a process for labeling foods as non-biotech. Twelve Republicans opposed the bill.
“We managed to get nearly every Republican and a significant number of Democrats. It puts us on pretty good footing to go over to the Senate,” said Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo, who introduced the bill and managed it on the House floor. Read Full Article »
July 23rd, 2015
by Carey Gillam
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a hotly debated measure that blocks any mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically engineered crops, including pre-empting a state law set to take effect next year in Vermont.
Dubbed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act by supporters, but the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” or DARK Act, by opponents, the measure was approved 275-150 with 45 Democrats voting for the bill.
House passage marks a victory for food and agricultural companies that have lobbied for the bill, and a blow to opponents, which include consumer, health and environmental groups and organic food industry players. Read Full Article »