Opinion/Editorial Archive

No No Nano: Macro-Objections to Micro-Machinations of Industrial Processed Food

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Call of the Land
by Steven McFadden

“To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.” – Wendell Berry

Steven McFadden

Steadily, stealthily, corporations are driving the goodness of natural life itself from our food, and cleverly – though unwisely – infesting it with dim bits of microscopic material substance that are obscured from human awareness. I object. Wholeheartedly.

Just as synthetic chemicals, manufactured additives, irradiation, and then genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been corporately imposed upon processed food, now a micro-invasion of nanoparticles is gaining momentum. Patented lab-created nanoparticles are even penetrating the realm of organic food, as the USDA’s organic program chooses to do nothing.

The invisible, insidious micro-mechanistic food interventions being aggressively advanced by industry are now incarnate via nanotechnology. That’s the practice of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale, and then incorporating the synthetic molecules into processed stuff, including our food. Read Full Article »

Beef Checkoff ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ Is Better Left Behind

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

NOTE: The organic farming community is facing a full-court-press by the powerful industry lobby group, the Organic Trade Association.  They want to pass a “checkoff” that will tax farmers to fund promotional and research work.  The history of these checkoffs leave farmers extremely skeptical, to say the least.  Cornucopia, and every organic farming group that has taken a position, has come out against the OTA proposal.  The following commentary represents the position of the National Farmers Union, an ally in our work (the author, the President of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, is a certified organic dairyman).

by Darin Von Ruden | Wisconsin Farmers Union President

Darin Von Ruden

After three years of trying to work with industry stakeholders to make needed changes to the Beef Checkoff program, the National Farmers Union withdrew from the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group in early September.

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) also withdrew from the working group, citing similar frustrations with a lack of progress since the group was formed in 2011.

NFU President Roger Johnson went so far as to call the working group a “bridge to nowhere” and a waste of time and resources. I have to agree.

The working group was designed to bring together vested parties from across the beef industry and to attempt to reach a consensus on substantial reforms that would make the checkoff a stronger, more effective tool for the beef industry.

The group also included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American National Cattlewomen, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Federation of State Beef Councils, Livestock Marketing Association, Meat Importers Council of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Livestock Producers Association and National Milk Producers Federation.

Sadly, it has become clear that in reality, there is no willingness from key players within the group to allow real reforms to take place. Read Full Article »

The Biggest Manure Spill in Door County History

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

When Something Fails, Try More of the Same!

by John Bobbe

My wife and I have lived on the Door Peninsula in the same neighborhood for 36 years. It is the thumb on Wisconsin that sticks out into Lake Michigan. Door County is billed as the “Cape Cod” of the Midwest with over 300 miles of shoreline along the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  The county prides itself as a destination for millions of tourists.

On the morning of September 16th, the day started out as any other until about 10 a.m. I discovered that the 250+ cow dairy farm ¼ mile west of us had a manure system malfunction that resulted in 640,000 gallons of liquid manure spilled and flowing across fields into Sugar Creek.   Sugar Creek is an intermittent stream that flows for several hundred feet through our property.  This was one of the largest manure spills in Wisconsin history.  It was the second manure spill by a large farm within a week in the county.

ManureSpillSugarCreek JohnBobbe

Photo:  Manure spill, Brussels, WI 6 hours after it was discovered.    All running towards Sugar Creek.  Our residence is ¼ mile east of this site and the creek runs through our property.  Courtesy:  John Bobbe Read Full Article »

Demise of the National Organic Standards Board?

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Montana Organic Association
by Barry Flamm, Former Chair of the National Organic Standards Board,
Board Member of The Cornucopia Institute
and MOA Lifetime Member

 Barry Flamm

Barry Flamm

The original and current purpose of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) is to bring integrity and order to organic food production and marketing by establishing uniform standards. The Act, established by the U.S. Congress, and the implementing regulations, adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is driven by the organic community’s desire to ensure that “organic” is something special and help assure a continuing organic community role in the process. Under the Act, the Congress established the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and gave it very important duties. In its Report (1990) on the bill, the Senate Agriculture Committee stated that,  “ The Committee regards this Board as an essential advisor to the Secretary (of Agriculture) on all issues concerning this bill and anticipates that many of the key standards will result from recommendations by this Board….(it) is generally responsible for advising the Secretary on all aspects of the implementation of OFPA, specifically, the Board is responsible for evaluating substances for inclusion on the Proposed National List.” Read Full Article »

The F.D.A.’s Blatant Failure on Food

Friday, August 1st, 2014

New York Times

fda_hogs

               Image Source: FDA

EVERY year, antibiotic-resistant infections kill at least 23,000 Americans and make another two million sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s why a recent ruling by the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals is so appalling.

It allows the federal Food and Drug Administration to leave an antibiotic used in animal feed on the market even if the agency openly states that the drug’s use is not safe and increases the risk of antibiotic resistance in people.  This means that the dangerous misuse of antibiotics in industrial livestock and poultry can continue unabated.

For years industrial meat and poultry producers have fed healthy animals antibiotics to fatten them up fast. The antibiotics also prevent disease in what are often overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. This practice breeds antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten us all.

The F.D.A. has issued a toothless voluntary guidance document for the industry, which requires no action to reduce antibiotic use and will therefore do little to nothing to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Read Full Article »