Cornucopia News Archive

New Report Exposes Dangerous/Unhealthy Pet Food

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Decoding Pet Food Labels: Avoiding Harmful Ingredients for Dogs and Cats

A new report sheds light on serious problems in pet food industry regulations and how specific loopholes allow for the use of questionable ingredients that could negatively impact companion animal health. Issued by The Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit food/farm policy research group, the report accuses some brands of using cheap ingredients, carcinogenic additives, and preservatives that are bad for long-term pet health, as well as attempting to intentionally deceive consumers with pet food labels.

The report, and an accompanying buying guide, Decoding Pet Food: Adulteration, Toxic Ingredients, and the Best Choices for Your Companion Animals, details how pet food quality varies significantly among brands and all too often includes unnecessary chemical additives.

“The pet food industry is no different than leading food marketers for humans when it comes to cheap substitutes and false health claims,” says the report’s lead author, Linley Dixon, PhD, a policy analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.

In most cases consumers get a higher quality product with certified organic brands, and in some cases with premium options marketed as “natural.” However, even these labels do not necessarily indicate that the highest quality and healthiest ingredients were used across an entire brand or whether the products contain unnecessary or potentially dangerous additives. Read Full Article »

U.S. Lawsuits Build Against Monsanto Over Alleged Roundup Cancer Link

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

by Carey Gillam

Source: Jack

Originally published Oct. 15, 2015: Personal injury law firms around the United States are lining up plaintiffs for what they say could be “mass tort” actions against agrichemical giant Monsanto Co that claim the company’s Roundup herbicide has caused cancer in farm workers and others exposed to the chemical.

The latest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Delaware Superior Court by three law firms representing three plaintiffs.

The lawsuit is similar to others filed last month in New York and California accusing Monsanto of long knowing that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was hazardous to human health. Monsanto “led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe,” the lawsuit states. Read Full Article »

Follow the National Organic Standards Board Meeting in Stowe, VT #NOSB

Monday, October 26th, 2015

CI_NOSBTwitterGeneric_1Last Updated: 10-29-15, 4:27 p.m. ET

Join The Cornucopia Institute as we live tweet from the National Organic Standards Board meeting in Stowe, Vermont. We will be sharing the play by play with our Twitter followers under #NOSB or simply follow our stream.

If you’re not already following us on Twitter, please do so here.

Read The Cornucopia Institute’s written comments to the NOSB here.

You can also stay updated throughout the meeting right here:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

4:27 p.m. ET: The Fall meeting of the NOSB meeting has adjourned.

4:25 p.m. ET: For five NOSB members, this is the last meeting of their five-year terms. In his exit speech, farmer member Colehour Bondera said:

“Making everyday choices as a farmer has to include thought to the environment and the consumer. While on the board, I have tried not to get bogged down in the little details, but to be careful of the process. Without a healthy process, we’re not going to be healthy. We are a public advisory group and I have always paid attention to the public. What I’m working toward is not to maintain the status quo, but for continual improvement. I want Organic to work for all of us.”

4:11 p.m. ET: One of the last items of business for the Fall meeting of the 15-member NOSB is the election of officers for 2016. The new chair of the board will be Tracy Favre, who sits in one of the board’s two environmentalist/conservation seats. Favre, from Texas, is a part-time certification inspector and a manufacturer’s rep, as well as a petroleum engineer by training. Elected vice-chair is Tom Chapman, who holds one of the two industry (handler/processor) seats and works for Clif Bar.

2:09 p.m. ET: After lunch, the NOSB begins discussion of the new Policy and Procedures Manual (PPM) given to the board in the form of a report. (By way of background, the NOP had unilaterally disbanded the Policies and Procedures Subcommittee when they instituted the changes to the Sunset process. It has since been restored.)

NOSB farmer member Bondera repeatedly brings up the fact that the new PPM put forth in the form of a report was very difficult to see the changes made without a “red line version” highlighting changes. Not seeing what has been changed makes it difficult for board members and the public to provide meaningful feedback.

Board member Stone, representing certifiers, indicated that he trusts those who developed the new version, and he liked its readability.

Bondera mentions concerns about sharing minority positions and the relationship of the NOSB and the NOP.

The NOSB will continue reviewing the new PPM, with a vote on it at the Spring 2016 meeting. Board Chair Richardson, consumer seat, agrees it will be better to review the new and previous versions for changes. Read Full Article »

Farmer Protest at NOSB Meeting

Monday, October 26th, 2015
Image Source: Mark Kastel

Farmers protest during the noon hour on Monday outside of the NOSB meeting in Stowe, VT.  They are upset that the National Organic Program (NOP) is certifying hydroponic operations as organic. Soil, soil building and the rich nutrient mix provided by a healthy, vibrant soil are key components of organic farming. They are demanding that the NOP keep soil in organic.

For more information on this topic, visit Read Full Article »

Organic Policy Wonks Square Off in Stowe, Vermont

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Fight Over Organic Integrity Pits Corporate Agribusiness Lobbyists
Against Farmers/Consumers 

Scorecard of Votes by Organic Policymakers on the NOSB Released

Stakeholders in the organic industry will descend on the small resort community of Stowe, Vermont next week in a ritual that has taken place for two decades. The focus will be on the semiannual meeting of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board. Sparks are expected to fly between corporate agribusiness, and their lobbyists, and the farmers and consumers who say they are fighting to maintain the true meaning of the organic label.

National Organic Standards Board
Spring 2015 Meeting in La Jolla, CA

The battle ground has heated up recently as The Cornucopia Institute recently made public that Miles McEvoy, the head of the USDA’s National Organic Program, is the subject of an ethics investigation by the USDA’s Office of Inspector General and its Agricultural Marketing Service.  One of the leading public interest groups that monitor the organic industry, Cornucopia claims that Mr. McEvoy has failed to vigorously enforce organic regulations.  Among these alleged failures are allowing “factory farms” to proliferate and illegally interfering with the decision-making process of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

Cornucopia officials met with USDA investigators, twice, in Wisconsin and Virginia, and possess documentary evidence backing up their allegations of ethical improprieties. In addition, NOSB members, with firsthand knowledge of some of the purported violation of law, have been willing to testify.  Despite this, on Tuesday the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service denied the existence of any ethics probe into Mr. McEvoy’s conduct. Read Full Article »