Cornucopia News Archive

Study Finds Higher Rates of Diabetes in Women Who Work With Certain Pesticides

Friday, December 19th, 2014

by Rebecca Thistlethwaite

Source: Jill Brown

A recent article in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine (Starling AP, et al. Occup Environ Med 2014; O:1-7) discusses the elevated diabetes risk for wives of farmers and pesticide applicators in both Iowa and North Carolina. The study found an increased risk of diabetes for women who used five distinct classes of pesticides. Similar risks were found among men who mixed pesticides- this study looked specifically at women who had ever mixed or applied pesticides themselves.

Not only do men and women have different pesticide exposure rates depending on how involved they are in the mixing and application of pesticides, their individual bodies are also thought to metabolize, or process, pesticides in different ways. This particular research sought to better understand how pesticide exposure affects women, with an emphasis on diabetes risk. Read Full Article »

Investigation: “Factory Farms” Producing Massive Quantities of Organic Milk and Eggs

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Regulations Not Being Enforced—Watchdog Asks for USDA to Remove Program Management

In what has been called one of the largest fraud investigations in the history of the organic industry, The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, announced filing formal legal complaints against 14 industrial livestock operations producing milk, meat and eggs being marketed, allegedly illegally, as organic.

Aurora Dairy, Stratford, Texas
18,000-head, gaming the system.

After years of inaction by the USDA, Cornucopia contracted for aerial photography in nine states, from West Texas to New York and Maryland, over the past eight months. What they found confirmed earlier site visits: a systemic pattern of corporate agribusiness interests operating industrial-scale confinement livestock facilities providing no legitimate grazing, or even access to the outdoors, as required by federal organic regulations.

A photo gallery of the apparent abuses by the giant certified organic operations in question can be found at

“The federal organic regulations make it very clear that all organic livestock must have access to the outdoors and that ruminants, like dairy cows, must have access to pasture,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute. “The vast majority of these massive, industrial-scale facilities, some managing 10,000-20,000 head of cattle, and upwards of 1 million laying hens, had 100% of their animals confined in giant buildings or feedlots.” Read Full Article »

Twists and Turns Unfold in the Oregon GMO Food Labeling Ballot Initiative Recount

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

UPDATE:  Judge Henry Kantor has rejected the Yes on 92 Campaign’s appeal to put a restraining order on the Secretary of State to prevent certification of the November 4 election.  The Yes Campaign is currently discussing options following the judge’s decision.

Source: Vox Efx

With only an 812 vote difference (out of 1.5 million cast) favoring the NO side in the Oregon GMO food labeling initiative a recount has gotten underway.

Monsanto and the Big Food opponents of Measure 92, the labeling initiative, are taking desperate measures to ensure the result doesn’t change.  In at least four Oregon counties, the NO campaign attempted to place out-of-state election observers in the recount rooms as their representatives, according the Statesman Journal in Salem Oregon.  The action is a violation of Oregon state law which allows only state electors, or Oregon residents, to have the role.

One of the out-of-state observers, from Virginia, is the director of state affairs for the powerful Grocery Manufacturer’s Association – a huge opponent of state GMO food labeling laws.

In one county, the representative of the NO campaign was found disrupting the attention of the counter and telling them how to do their job. Read Full Article »

Is Your Pet’s Food as Safe as You Think?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

5 Tips to Keeping Your Furry Friend Healthy and Well Fed

By Linley Dixon, PhD

In recent years, anecdotal reports by veterinarians
suggest there has been a spike in serious
maladies in pets. Americans spend
about $22 billion 
on pet food each year.

Pet food quality varies significantly and all too often includes dangerous chemical additives. In many cases consumers get what they pay for, but price doesn’t always indicate high quality. The good news is that discriminating shoppers will soon have a new tool helping them to weed through product labels and separate the good from the bad.

The Cornucopia Institute has completed a thorough analysis of the pet food industry and will release a detailed report this winter.

Our study reveals that many complete diet products significantly sway from the natural, wild diets of cats and dogs in terms of protein, fat and carbohydrate percentages. The majority of both dog and cat food product formulations contain too many grains and starches, including corn, wheat, rice, oats, peas, and potatoes. In addition, many products contain questionable and/or unnecessary ingredients. Read Full Article »

Food Safety Petition and Action Alert

Friday, December 5th, 2014

[This alert is over–comment period now closed]

Food Safety Modernization Act: New Draft Rules
Comments Due on December 15 to FDA

FDA3Please take action by reading the full Action Alert available on the Cornucopia website:

Although improved over the first draft the FDA’s proposed food safety rules are still onerous enough that they could jeopardize the existence of many of our safest, local organic farms.

Tell the FDA that small farms are not food processing “facilities” necessitating expensive oversight and testing. (It could cost a family farm over $12,000 a year to comply!). Irrigation water should not have to meet the same safety standards as a community swimming pool. And it should be clear that older farmers, without Internet access, or the Amish, can submit reports on paper rather than the web.

At a minimum, please join farmers and their urban-allies by signing on to the letter below. Additionally, we especially encourage fresh market vegetable farmers to also, very carefully, read the full action alert and submit your individual comments, based on your own farming experience, to the FDA. Your livelihoods are at stake.

TO: The Food and Drug Administration
RE: FSMA Food Safety Rules, Dockets FDA-2011-N-0921-0973 and FDA-2011-N-0920-1553
We the undersigned are concerned by several areas of the FDA’s revised food safety rules and endorse the following comments.

  • The cost to farmers for implementing the proposed rules will endanger the livelihoods of organic farmers and their customers’ access to safe and nutritionally superior local and organic food. This regulatory burden, as much as $12,384 for farms with sales of $500,000 or less, is an unacceptable imposition of financial hardship on producers with no history of food safety problems.
  • Farms are not facilities. Growing, harvesting, packing, or holding raw agricultural commodities are clearly part of many farm activities. Furthermore, the regulations should allow for non-contiguous farm parcel locations to be treated as one farm and not discriminate against cooperatives or food hubs.
  • The FDA must clarify that CSAs and direct market farmers are not facilities.
  • The proposed use of the EPA’s recreational water standard is an inappropriate and overly restrictive measure for testing the safety of irrigation water. Before establishing a numeric testing standard for the safety of irrigation water, the FDA must conduct a risk assessment for water used specifically for agricultural purposes, and follow the instructions from Congress that a science and risk-based approach be used for regulation.
  • Recordkeeping requirements should be reasonable, limited to one year, and allow for paper records.
  • The FDA must establish a fair process for any enforcement actions against farmers that allows due process, full documentation of any alleged food safety issues, and the opportunity for a hearing to contest erroneous information.
  • The FDA must respect the exemption from the food safety rules for smaller farms, as guaranteed by the Tester-Hagan amendment. That exemption must be determined by the level of sales of produce covered by the rule, not the total sale of all food grown and raised on a farm.
  • On-farm conservation practices need explicit support in the food safety rules. The grazing of livestock must not be considered manure application.
  • The FDA’s proposed changes made to the manure handling regulations are a needed improvement. The study committee that will be established to assess the risks of manure usage must include sustainable and organic farmers.
  • The FDA should remove the supplier verification program from the Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Control (HARPC) food safety rule. This backdoor approach would allow for large produce buyers to impose more stringent and costly food safety regulations than outlined in the FDA’s proposed rules.
  • The FDA’s new definition of a small business is an improvement over previous proposals.

* denotes a require field

Thank you for your help! 

If you are interested in doing even more, please read the full action alert below: Read Full Article »