Completed Action Alerts Archive

ACTION ALERT: Protect Organic/Non-GMO Farmers and the Purity of Our Food Supply

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Comments Due March 4

Credit: USDA NRCS

Organic and Non-GMO agriculture has shouldered the burden of GMO contamination for too long.  This is our opportunity to tell the USDA that it must use its authority to:

1. Implement mandatory contamination prevention measures to avoid the problem and protect the organic and non-GMO sector;

2. Ensure shared responsibility for the unwanted spread of genetically engineered (GE) products, including a fair compensation mechanism that does not further burden those who avoid, and sometimes are harmed by, contamination.

The USDA published a request for public comments last November (FR Vol. 78, No. 213, Nov. 4, 2013) on how agricultural “coexistence” in the United States can be strengthened.  The deadline for comments is March 4, 2014.

Comment online at Regulations.gov Docket No. APHIS-2013-0047 (click here for the comment page and here for the background documents). Read Full Article »

CRUSHED NUTS/ROTTEN APPLES: “Pasteurized” Nuts and GMO Apples — TELL THE FDA and USDA NO

Friday, December 6th, 2013

This Action Alert is Over.

GMO Apples?

The USDA’sAnimal and Plant Health Inspection Service is poised to approve a genetically engineered apple, called the Arctic Apple®.  The public comment period runs through Monday, December 16. Click here to read Cornucopia’s submitted comments.

You can comment directly here:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=APHIS-2012-0025-1938

gmo.applesOkanagan Specialty Fruits has developed a GMO Golden and Granny Smith apple that is designed not to brown when sliced and exposed to the air.  Browning reflects an apple’s freshness – something all consumers are interested in.

The actual genetic engineering process includes insertion of nptII, neomycin phosphotransferase type II gene from E. coli Tn5.  This gene allows the transformed apple tissue to grow on a medium containing the antibiotic kanamycin but confers no benefit to the apple plant.

Every cell of every GE apple tree, including the fruit and the tree roots, will show resistance to kanamycin.  Kanamycin is a commonly used antibiotic in human medicine, used to treat a wide variety of infections.

  • Eating an Arctic Apple could transfer the gene for kanamycin resistance into your digestive system.  A similar transfer has been demonstrated with GE soy.   There is a real possibility that bacteria in the human digestive systems could develop kanamycin resistance.  Antibiotic resistance is a major concern among medical professionals.
  • Furthermore, the GE apple’s DNA can also spread to bacteria on the plant and in the soil.  Orchardists might very well find that controlling diseases of special concern like fireblight in orchards may become much more difficult.  And in the soil environment, the GE DNA can persist for at least a year, where it can be taken up by natural soil bacteria and then incorporated into their genetic structure.

There is no proof that Arctic Apples are harmless, but there is certainly reason to suspect that they may be harmful to humans, wildlife, and the soil environment.  Urge the USDA to reject approval of the Arctic Apple.  The unknown risks far outweigh the cosmetic value of an apple that doesn’t brown when sliced.

For additional information, click on the links to read the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection ServiceEnvironmental Assessment (EA) and Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA) for the GE Arctic apples.

Crushed Nuts

almondsThe FDA is gathering information concerning the Salmonella risk associated with the eating of “tree nuts.” According to the FDA notice (no longer available at this link):

“… outbreaks, published reports of Salmonella in tree nuts destined for human consumption, and recalls emphasize the need to assess the risk of salmonellosis associated with tree nuts intended for human consumption, and to evaluate the appropriate risk-based preventive controls needed to reduce the risk of human salmonellosis….

The FDA says that almonds, desiccated coconut and pine nuts have been associated with Salmonella outbreaks. And they point to cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios, shelled hazelnuts and walnuts as other nuts associated with Salmonella.

The FDA is accepting public comments on the risk and its evaluation through Monday, December 16.  You can comment electronically at:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2013-N-0747-0010  

When the USDA mandated a post-harvest treatment for California raw almonds in 2007, the impact was severe for many raw nut growers and distributors.  They were required to treat their nuts with a toxic fumigant (propylene oxide) or steam heat the nuts before they could be sold as “raw” to American consumers.  Imports were not subject to this mandate nor were domestic producers outside of California.

ohnoalmondMany producers lost sales (at least one reporting millions of dollars lost) to untreated imports as consumers rebelled against the controversial treatment of a nutritious raw product for a variety of reasons, including a reported change (by some) in the texture, the nutritive value of the treated nut, and potential use of a toxic gas on their food.

The USDA almond mandate slipped through almost unnoticed, although it created a rather large uproar following its implementation.  This information gathering effort by the FDA could very well be the first step towards mandating a similar treatment scheme, or even one including irradiation, for all consumable raw nuts.

If you prefer, you may mail written comments, postmarked by December 16, to:

Division of Dockets
Management (HFA–305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852.

Make sure you reference Docket No. FDA–2013–N–0747 with any comments sent by mail.

What the FDA seems willing to ignore, in its zest to squelch potential contamination of foods by infectious human pathogens like salmonella, are the primary sources of many of the fecal associated pathogens found on food.  The massive amounts of manure stored at the nation’s industrial-scale livestock facilities are such source.  The escape of the highly infectious pathogens via air-blown dust, water, and run-off that contaminates neighboring lands and our rural countryside.  Responsibility for control of these disease causing pathogens should be undertaken at the source.

The FDA has also been unwilling to look at issues of scale.  In the case of mandatory almond pasteurization the only trace-back of a salmonella outbreak implicated Paramount Farms, the nation’s largest almond and pistachio producer.  In order to bring massive operations into compliance regulators are willing to promulgate “one-size-fits-all” rulemaking that create onerous requirements and costs damaging family-scale producers.

ACTION ALERT: Defend Our Safest Farms/Food – Comment Today to FDA (deadline: 11:59 PM Eastern)

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

(This Action Alert is Over)
FDA Food Safety Comment Closes Today, Nov. 22
 

Your Electronic Voice Can Help Save the Family Farms
Producing Our Nation’s Best Food

You can make a difference!  It’s the last hour.  If you have yet to do so, you have until 11:59 PM Eastern Time today, November 22 to comment directly on the FDA’s food safety web page to help save our nation’s organic/local produce farmers from potential ruin!

There are two open dockets (farm production and processing).  Please submit your electronic comments to the FDA in these federal government webpages to the Produce Rule and to the Preventive Controls Rule (this is important because these issues affect both rules).  Then click on the “Comment Now” button on the upper right side of the regulations.gov web page.

fsma.goodfarmers

(You can also mail written comments, postmarked today, if you so choose.)

The FDA’s proposed food safety rules threaten to ensnare many of the country’s safest farmers in a tangle of expensive, misdirected regulations that may force many of our best farmers out of business. For help with talking points and full background information, click here.

Even if you sent in a signed proxy letter to Cornucopia for us to hand deliver to the FDA, you can add more comments on the FDA’s food safety web page.  You can cut and paste the talking points but just a few personal lines, or a paragraph or two, will add a lot of weight in making your input “original.”

Better food safety oversight of factory farms and giant agribusinesses is needed — and appropriate — but it appears that the FDA and corporate lobbyists are using these food safety proposals to simultaneously crush the organic and local farming movements.  Together we can defend those farmers producing local, fresh, safe and nutritionally superior food.

We know you enjoy the bounty of nutritious, healthful food produced by our nation’s best farmers.  Please help protect family-scale farmers and maintain this alternative in the marketplace. Read Full Article »

ACTION ALERT: Proxy or Not, Here’s a Way to Amplify Your Voice in Defense of our Safest Farms/Food

Friday, November 8th, 2013

(This Action Alert is Over)
FDA Food Safety Comment Deadline is Nov. 15
 

Your Electronic Voice Can Help Save the Family Farms
Producing Our Nation’s Best Food

GoodFood2You can make a difference!  It’s the 11th hour.  Please comment directly on the FDA’s food safety web page to help save our nation’s organic/local produce farmers from potential ruin!  The FDA’s proposed food safety rules threaten to ensnare many of the country’s safest farmers in a tangle of expensive, misdirected regulations that may force many of our best farmers out of business.

Even if you sent in a signed proxy letter to Cornucopia for us to hand deliver to the FDA, you can add more comments on the FDA’s food safety web page.

There are two open dockets (farm production and processing).  Please submit your electronic comments to the FDA in these federal government webpages to the Produce Rule and to the Preventive Controls Rule (this is important because these issues affect both rules).  Then click on the “Comment Now” button on the upper right side of the regulations.gov web page.

For help with talking points and full background information, click here.  You can cut and paste the talking points but just a few personal lines, or a paragraph or two, will add a lot of weight in making your input “original.”

If you are trying to comment on the FDA’s food safety rules, and are receiving an error message from the Regulations.gov web page — this is very frustrating!  You have at least two options.  You can continue to try commenting online, and hopefully this problem will be rectified soon.

Alternatively, you might also want to mail (the old-fashioned way), the FDA your food safety comments.  This would need to be postmarked by Nov. 15 and sent to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

All mailed comments must also include your name, organization (if any) and the appropriate docket number:

  • For the Preventive Controls Rule:  FDA-2011-N-0920 and RIN 0910-AG36
  • For the Produce Rule:  FDA-2011-N-0921 and RIN 0910-AG35

If you want to comment on both rules, you can mail them together but must label your comments with BOTH of those docket numbers.

We encourage you to keep trying to make your voice heard.  The food produced by our nation’s best and safest farmers, and treasured by all of us, is worth the effort to protect.

Please share this action alert with your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter or other social media that you use. 

Better food safety oversight of factory farms and giant agribusinesses is needed — and appropriate — but it appears that the FDA and corporate lobbyists are using these food safety proposals to simultaneously crush the organic and local farming movements.  Together we can defend those farmers producing local, fresh, safe and nutritionally superior food.

It is critical for the good food community to come together right now.  We know you enjoy the bounty of nutritious, healthful food produced by our nation’s best farmers.  Please help protect family-scale farmers and maintain this alternative in the marketplace.

DEADLINE: Get Your Proxy in—FDA Rules Could Force Local/Organic Farms Out Of Business

Friday, November 1st, 2013

(This Action Alert is Over)
FDA DEADLINE APPROACHING: Please Get Your Proxy in the Mail ASAP

Your Voice Could Make the Difference
in Saving the Family Farms Producing Our Best Food

goodfoodYou can make a difference.  Please help save our nation’s diversified produce farmers from potential ruin!  The FDA’s proposed food safety rules threaten to ensnare many of the country’s safest farmers in a tangle of expensive, misdirected regulations that may force many of our best farmers out of business.

Download, sign and mail back to us the linked proxy letter today!  The public comment deadline closes in a few days.

Thousands of you have already made the effort to mail your proxy-letter back to Cornucopia for hand delivery to the FDA.  If you have yet to do so, please act now. Read Full Article »