Cornucopia News Archive

USDA Seeks Nominations for the National Organic Standards Board

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Four seats are open on the 15-member citizen board that advises the USDA National Organic Program. Nominations to fill the vacancies—for an environmentalist, an organic producer, an organic handler, and a retailer—are due May 15. “NOSB members serve a vital role for the organic community advising the Secretary of Agriculture (mostly through the NOP) and being an important link to the USDA,” said former NOSB Chair Barry Flamm, a Cornucopia board member. “The Board needs good people with the necessary knowledge and experience that will support organic integrity in the fullest meaning of organics.”

USDA.PowerGrabCornucopia’s Organic Watergate report calls out the USDA for its history of stacking the Board with corporate agribusiness executives and appointing non-farmers to the organic producer seat.

The Board members whose terms are ending are:

  • Wendy Fulwider, Animal Care Specialist, CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley – organic farmer seat
  • Jay Feldman, Executive Director, Beyond Pesticides – environmentalist/ resource conservationist seat
  • John Foster, Director of Compliance for Quality, Food Safety & Organic Integrity, Earthbound Farm – organic handler seat
  • Joe Dixon, Food, Organic and Environmental Quality Standards Coordinator, Whole Foods Markets – retailer seat Read Full Article »

What are the Legal Differences between Organic and ‘Natural’ Labels?

Friday, March 28th, 2014

[NOTE:  This is an excerpt from Cornucopia's report: "Cereal Crimes: How "Natural" Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label—A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle." To read the full report, click here.]

CI_OrganicNaturalLabelsIt seems like an almost daily occurrence: major food brands facing lawsuits over use of the term “natural” on foods that contain artificial ingredients or genetically modified organisms. How does this happen? When organic food isn’t available, those products marketed as natural would seem to be the second best option, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Read Full Article »

Gut-Wrenching: New Studies Reveal the Insidious Effects of Glyphosate

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

By Pamela Coleman, PhD
Farm and Food Policy Analyst
The Cornucopia Institute

Credit: Tim McCabe, USDA NRCS

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in one of the most heavily used herbicide in the world: Monsanto’s Roundup®. The industry claims that Roundup® is quite safe, but authors of a recent article in the scientific journal Entropy reach a very different conclusion:

“Contrary to the current widely-held misconception that glyphosate is relatively harmless to humans, the available evidence shows that glyphosate may rather be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.”[i] [emphasis added] Read Full Article »

Spring 2014 NOSB: Two Meetings in One

Friday, March 14th, 2014

cornucopia-we-own-it-buttonUsually the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets twice a year.  Last year, though, the fall meeting was canceled due to the partial government shutdown in October.  This year, the spring meeting includes many agenda items from the fall meeting, plus several new items.  There are three areas that Cornucopia is particularly concerned about: first, the USDA National Organic Program’s (NOP) decision to change the sunset process; second, the sunsetting of the antibiotic streptomycin, used for apples and pears; and third, the materials petitioned for aquaculture. Read Full Article »

Organic Check-off Proposal Gets OK in Farm Bill, Universally Panned by Farmers and Producer Groups

Friday, March 14th, 2014

by Will Fantle, Codirector

Credit: Capricorn78

The recent passage of the Farm Bill contains a provision allowing the USDA Secretary to propose establishment of an organic check-off program that, in a first, would be spread across all organic commodities.  The scheme has long been a darling of the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

The OTA, an industry lobby group historically dominated by the large corporate agribusiness (Dean Foods/WhiteWave, General Mills, Smuckers, Whole Foods, etc.), the biggest players in organics, is already calling on the organic sector to discuss the program’s future.  At an early March OTA-sponsored panel at the annual food conference, Natural Products Expo West, the OTA urged participants to “become a part of the collective voice … united for MORE organic.”

That collective voice has thus far not included most farmers.  Read Full Article »