Opinion/Editorial Archive

Hypocrisy and Choice

Friday, June 6th, 2014

In this morning’s headlines several prominent agriculture groups spoke out against a state-initiated food labeling plan (without specifically referencing GMO’s). They claimed that “only FDA” should be the standard-bearer.

Ib Hagsten, PhD

This new-found faith in FDA is amusing given those same ag groups regularly “question” FDA’s wisdom when a new directive comes out that is uncomfortable for their membership.  And how confident can we feel in relying on FDA when only a week ago the FDA came out saying they needed to withdraw a proposal related to food safety, after learning it had too many discrepancies?

In the last two weeks I have read several US scientific society statements endorsing the technological advances through the use of GMO’s.  After all, they claim “the science” shows GMOs to be safe.  So let’s consider what “science” they are referencing. Read Full Article »

Kids and …

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The New York Times
By Mark Bittman

1. Lunch

Credit: Beau Wade

Allow me this generalization: Healthy food initiatives threaten profits and are therefore fought or deflected or co-opted at all costs by the producers of hyperprocessed food. This is true even when those costs include producing an increasingly sick population — and a disproportionate number of defenseless children — and an ever-growing portion of our budget spent on paying for diet-related illness. Big Food will continue to pursue profit at the expense of health as long as we let them. Read Full Article »

Why Does the Food Industry Carry Monsanto’s Dirty Water?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

by Robyn O’Brien

MonsantoSignMonsanto just might be the most contentious company on the planet.  If you read their PR, you’d think they were here to save the world.  If you read their financial statements, you will quickly realize that they are a chemical company.

So can a chemical company save the world?  Especially in light of the escalating rates of cancers?

It doesn’t appear to be the case, as countries around the world increasingly restrict or ban their chemical products and the genetically engineered crops designed to withstand them.

So what are we doing here in the United States?

In the United States, we are introducing labeling laws at a record pace since these ingredients were never labeled.  Can you imagine if Intel operated this way?  Read Full Article »

Should Cities Be Banning Herbicides & Pesticides & Going Organic?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Sustainable Cities Collective
by David Thorpe

Seedy-greedyParks and city green spaces and school grounds are safe, pleasant and healthy places, right? Perhaps not, if they are sprayed with dangerous pesticides and herbicides.

Cities are gradually waking up to the idea that they may be putting their populations at risk by using these chemical-containing pesticides and herbicides. Some of them are already receiving demands that they refrain from their use, replacing them with healthy alternatives.

Last month, Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Ecology, appeared on television to ask that “all mayors remove pesticides in parks and schools”, following the appearance of scientific doubts about the safety of these substances. This week, on May 22, World Biodiversity Day, she is to launch a campaign called “cities and villages without pesticides“, under which schools are being asked to ban their use and convert to organic growing. Read Full Article »

A Response to The Wall Street Journal article: “Organic Farming Is Not Sustainable”

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Linley Dixon, PhD
Cornucopia Farm Policy Analyst

The Wall Street Journal opinion piece “Organic Farming Is Not Sustainable” published May 15, 2014 by Dr. Henry Miller misrepresents the industry and is riddled with factual inaccuracies. Dr. Miller attempts to discredit organic agriculture’s environmental benefits on the basis of pesticide use, lower yields, groundwater contamination, and greenhouse gas emissions. The author displays a clear bias and incomplete knowledge of these subjects throughout the piece.

Dr. Miller states that one problem with organic farming is the use of pesticides, including nicotine sulfate and rotenone. Although natural, nicotine sulfate is listed as a prohibited substance in organic production. Rotenone is not licensed by the EPA for use in the United States and the National Organic Standards Board voted to prohibit rotenone in international organic commerce.

The more commonly used organic natural/botanically-based pesticides like pyrethroids, although safer to the environment, are considered “restricted” under organic regulations and only used as a last resort after cultural and biological preventative measures are exhausted.

These materials are very expensive compared to synthetic pesticides giving growers tremendous economic disincentive to use them. Instead, disease and pest prevention practices are routine in organic production and eliminate the need for chemical inputs.

Skeptics of organic agriculture frequently point to the use of natural pesticides, but fail to understand they are highly scrutinized to assure their safety for human health and the environment and are only last resort materials and thus used in very limited quantities. Conventional agriculture, on the other hand, sprays highly toxic and carcinogenic agrochemicals because they are cheaper than practicing disease prevention. Read Full Article »