June 23rd, 2016
by Robert Audette
The Vermont Attorney General’s Office is asking a federal judge to force Syngenta Corporation and Dupont to turn over internal studies relating to the safety of genetically modified organisms.
The state is asking the manufacturers of genetically engineered seeds — such as DuPont, Syngenta, Dow, Monsanto and Bayer — to turn over any studies conducted into the health and environmental impacts of those products and the producers of foods containing GE ingredients — such as Frito-Lay, Kellog’s and ConAgra — to release consumer surveys to see if these companies know what their consumers think when they see the word “natural.”
In May 2014, the Vermont Legislature enacted Act 120, which requires the labeling of foods produced or partially produced with genetic engineering or containing genetically modified ingredients and prohibits the labeling of such foods as “natural.”
In response to the state’s request for the documents, Syngenta and Dupont claim the state’s motions are untimely; the documents sought are irrelevant to the underlying litigation; and it is too burdensome to look for the documents. Read Full Article »
June 23rd, 2016
The Cornucopia Institute joined nearly 200 other organizations in sending letters to the USDA, EPA, and Congress urging that they take action to protect pollinators from harmful pesticides and that they support sustainable agriculture. You can read the letter to the EPA below, including the specific action plan outlined for pollinator protection. The letters to the USDA and Congress can be found in this PDF.
June 22, 2016
Administrator Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
Research shows, bee toxic pesticides are a leading contributor to honey bee decline. On behalf of the undersigned beekeepers and organizations representing millions of members and supporters nationwide, we urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take the following specific actions to protect bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators as well as farmers, beekeepers, farmworkers, and consumers. Read Full Article »
June 22nd, 2016
New York Times
by Kim Severson
HAVANA — Being an agricultural official in Cuba these days is like living in a resort town all your friends want to visit. You rarely get a moment to yourself.
For months, Havana’s government offices and its prettiest urban farms have been filled with American bureaucrats, seed sellers, food company executives and farmers who spend their evenings eating meals made with ingredients often imported or smuggled into restaurants that most Cubans can’t afford.
They seek the prizes that are likely to come if the United States ends its trade restrictions against Cuba: a new supply of sugar, coffee and tropical produce, and a new market for American exports that could reap more than $1.2 billion a year in sales, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce. Read Full Article »
June 22nd, 2016
Removal of Carcinogenic Substance Uncertain Due to Industry Lobbying
[This article was previously published in the summer issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]
by Linley Dixon, PhD
Farm and Food Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute
|Source: Adobe Stock
The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of more than 9,000 food additives used in conventional foods, a number that former Deputy Commissioner Taylor admits is beyond their capacity.
Evaluating the continued use of food additives in organic food, however, is the responsibility of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which sets a much higher bar according to the regulations set forth in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). This year, assessing the safety of carrageenan for continued use in organic foods is on the NOSB’s agenda. Carrageenan is commonly found in dairy products, deli meats, salad dressings, toothpaste, pet food, and vegan products.
Carrageenan, derived from red seaweed, is considered a “synthetic substance” due to its extraction process and is mandated for an NOSB review by Congress every five years. Carrageenan’s use as an emulsifier and thickener is highly controversial, because independent research indicates it is a potent trigger of inflammation and a possible carcinogen. Read Full Article »
June 22nd, 2016
The Summer 2016 Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter, is now available online. Download the PDF here.
In it you’ll find:
- Cover story: Gathering of the Agrarian Elders
- Commentary: Organic Hooligans
- Feature: Will Carrageenan Remain in Organic Food?
- News: Cornucopia Sues USDA
- Undisturbed Ecosystems Benefit Everyone
- What is a Rural Sociologist?
- Cornucopia Clarifies What Organics Is and What It Isn’t
- Farmer Profile: A New Day for New Morning
Read Full Article »