Cornucopia News Archive

Report Exposes Food Industry Cover-up

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

[Click here to read the updated carrageenan report]

Toxic, Carcinogenic, Degraded Carrageenan:
Widespread Contamination Present in the Common Food-Grade Ingredient

CarageenanReportCover2016A just-issued report by The Cornucopia Institute summarizes research on the common food additive carrageenan, exposing the industry’s hidden data demonstrating that all food-grade carrageenan contains a carcinogenic contaminant—low molecular weight poligeenan.

Carrageenan, harvested from specific species of red seaweed, is a highly effective thickener/stabilizer found in processed foods including infant formula, plant-based beverages, deli meats, and some dairy products, including cream. The controversy over carrageenan has existed between food industry representatives and public health researchers for years, but it is now flaring up again over its use in organic food.

Cornucopia’s report, Carrageenan: New Studies Reinforce Link to Inflammation, Cancer, and Diabetes, will be formally released in Washington, on April 25, at the upcoming meeting of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board. The board will be debating whether to remove carrageenan from its list of approved materials for use in organic food. Read Full Article »

Shifting Authority Away from the National Organic Standards Board

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

[See Cornucopia’s comprehensive analysis, including a side-by-side comparison of the new draft and existing PPM]

Rewrite of the National Organic Standards Board’s Policy and Procedures Manual

USDA.PowerGrabThe Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, has released an in-depth review of the proposed changes to the policies and procedures governing the organic industry’s regulatory board. Cornucopia’s analysis concludes that the proposal would further erode public trust in how the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) conducts its business.

The Policy and Procedures Manual (PPM) has been the de-facto operating manual for the NOSB since its release in 2002. The original PPM was developed by the NOSB with public review and formal input from organic stakeholders before it was approved by the USDA. The PPM was comprehensively reviewed and updated by the NOSB in 2012.

“These new changes, cloaked in the minutia of ‘government-speak,’ represent a wholesale hijacking of the authority Congress vested in the NOSB,” said Will Fantle, Cornucopia’s codirector. “Congress gave the NOSB—a 15-member expert advisory body—direct authority over what nonorganic ingredients and materials would be allowed in organic food production. Lawmakers also mandated that the USDA Secretary seek input and advice from the NOSB into how the federal organic regulatory law is executed.” Read Full Article »

Stop the USDA Political Bureaucrats and Corporate Lobbyists from Hijacking the Independence of the National Organic Standards Board

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

This Action Alert is over.

[See Cornucopia’s comprehensive analysis, including a side-by-side comparison of the new draft and existing PPM]

Act by 11:59 PM (Eastern) this Thursday, April 14

Fall 2015 NOSB Meeting

Tell NOSB members to table changes to their policy and procedures manual (PPM)

The National Organic Standard Board’s (NOSB) Policy and Procedures Manual (PPM) was originally developed by the board itself, with public input. However, in August 2015 USDA bureaucrats and political appointees drafted a radical new copy, watering down the authority of the independent board, created by Congress, and making it easier for synthetic chemicals to be used in organic farming and food production. Read Full Article »

National Organic Program: Proposed Rule for Animal Welfare Standards

Thursday, April 7th, 2016
Herbruck’s massive “organic” operation in
Michigan managing nearly two million birds
(Click on image for larger version)

Almost a decade after The Cornucopia Institute brought public scrutiny to the issue of giant “factory farms” producing organic eggs and poultry, the USDA has finally released its long-awaited draft rule to constrain abuses in the industry. Cornucopia has alleged for years that clear violations of the current federal organic regulations were occurring and not being enforced by the National Organic Program (NOP).

For background see Cornucopia’s in-depth report (updated 2015), Scrambled Eggs:

Comments from Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group: Read Full Article »

Citizens Can Sue for Mislabeling

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

by Jason Cole, Research Associate at The Cornucopia Institute

Source: Dollar Photo Club

Precedent set for new organic enforcement pathway

Late last year, the California Supreme Court found that citizens have the right to sue food marketers for mislabeling their products as “organic.” The ruling allows for a new pathway to enforce federal organic regulations in California, a job that was heretofore the province of the USDA, and specifically the National Organic Program (NOP).

Previously, consumers could only file a complaint with the USDA and wait for a response. Because the NOP does not make its enforcement actions public, The Cornucopia Institute had to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to determine the scope of the NOP’s activities in this area. The results showed very limited enforcement actions. Read Full Article »