Opinion/Editorial Archive

Why is Cornell University Hosting a GMO Propaganda Campaign?

Friday, January 29th, 2016

The Ecologist
by Stacy Malkan

Source: Erik Jaeger

Cornell, one of the world’s leading academic institutions, has abandoned scientific objectivity, writes Stacy Malkan – and instead made itself a global hub for the promotion of GM crops and food. Working with selected journalists and industry-supported academics, Cornell’s so-called ‘Alliance for Science’ is an aggressive propaganda tool for corporate biotech and agribusiness.

The founders of Cornell University, Andrew D. White and Ezra Cornell, dreamed of creating a great university that took a radical approach to learning.

Their revolutionary spirit, and the promise to pursue knowledge for the greater good, is said to be at the heart of the Ivy League school their dream became.

It is difficult to understand how these ideals are served by a unit of Cornell operating as a public relations arm for the agrichemical industry.

Yet that is what seems to be going on at the Cornell Alliance for Science (CAS), a program launched in 2014 with a $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a goal to “depolarize the charged debate” about GMOs. Read Full Article »

The Facts About The USDA’s AMS Grassfed Marketing Claim Recission

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

American Grassfed Association

AGA-LogoOn January 12, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service rescinded the standards for the grassfed marketing claim. These were the minimal standards behind the grassfed label found on meat sold wholesale or retail. The reasons for the rescission are somewhat unclear, but according to AMS representatives, they have reinterpreted their authority and decided that developing and maintaining marketing standards does not fit within their agency.

Some Background

After a lengthy public process that lasted several years, AMS introduced the grassfed standard in 2006. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the regulatory arm that approves meat labels, was charged with enforcing the standard for those who chose to use it. But because FSIS required no audit or other verification other than a producer-signed affidavit, the term was sometimes misused and was often confusing, both for producers and consumers. The growth of grassfed demand in the marketplace only fueled the misperceptions.

Going forward, FSIS will continue to approve the grassfed label claim, but producers will each define their own standards. FSIS is only considering the feeding protocol in their label approvals — other issues such as confinement; use of antibiotics and hormones; and the source of the animals, meat, and dairy products will be left up to the producer. Read Full Article »

Final NOP’s Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation Guidance is Raising the Bar to a Higher Level, but Did Not Go Far Enough

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Wild Farm Alliance
by Jo Ann Baumgartner

NOP guidance did not clearly stop degradation
of lands with Conservation Reserve Program
improvements when converted to organic crop
production, although there is an example of
best practices regarding this issue.
Image source: Penn State

On January 15, 2016 the National Organic Program (NOP) released the final version of their Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation Guidance. It comes after Wild Farm Alliance and partners wrote the initial text and subsequently led comments from the organic community on the NOP’s draft.

“We applaud NOP for clearly stating that certified operations are required to implement measures that support natural resources and biodiversity conservation, not just soil and water quality, which was the problematic misconception from the start,” said Wild Farm Alliance Executive Director Jo Ann Baumgartner. “Soil and water regulations have been addressed consistently by most operations and certifiers in the past, and now with this final guidance, there will be a uniform method for implementation of the natural resources and biodiversity conservation regulations by all.” Read Full Article »

Biotechnology Proponent’s Recipe to Defend GMOs Produces a Stew Blending Orwellian Rhetoric with Sheer Demagoguery

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

by Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute

Mark Kastel

A commentary in the December 29 edition of the Wall Street Journal, by Julie Kelly, a prolific defender of the biotechnology industry and a self-identified suburban mom, cooking instructor, and accidental activist, claimed that in 2015 genetically engineered food made great progress despite “fear mongering” from the “culinary elite.”

Since the vast majority of U.S. citizens support informational labeling on food regarding its GMO (genetically modified organism) status, that’s a pretty sizable percentage of the population to refer to as the “elite.” Nonetheless, Kelly’s winning examples actually make a pretty compelling case for why consumers are uneasy with the technology and want the ability to choose: Read Full Article »

Are You Eating Frankenfish?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

The New York Times
by Tom Colicchio

Source: Danielle Helm

This month, Congress may decide whether consumers are smart enough to be trusted with their own food choices. Some lawmakers are trying to insert language into must-pass spending legislation that would block states from giving consumers the right to know whether their food contains genetically modified ingredients.

They must be stopped.

Nine out of 10 Americans want G.M.O. disclosure on food packages, according to a 2013 New York Times poll, just like consumers in 64 other nations. But powerful members of the agriculture and appropriations committees, along with their allies in agribusiness corporations like Monsanto, want to keep consumers in the dark. That’s why opponents of this effort have called it the DARK Act — or the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act. Read Full Article »