The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

Nonprofit Finds Glyphosate in Cereal and Snack Bars

August 20th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: A report by the Environmental Working Group finds varying amounts of glyphosate in cereals and snack bars made with oats. Over the last decade, glyphosate has been increasingly employed as a desiccant for cereal grains, allowing the entire crop to be harvested at once. The gratuitous use of glyphosate has contaminated soil and water across the globe. Neither Monsanto’s pesticide, Roundup, nor its active ingredient, glyphosate, are permitted for use on organic foods.

Roundup Weed Killer Chemical Found In Cheerios And Quaker Oats, Researchers Say
by Don Reisinger, Fortune

Source: Michael Himbeault

If you or your children are eating Cheerios right now, there’s a good chance that they’re accompanied by a potentially harmful weed killer called Roundup.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) on Wednesday released the results of a test it conducted on popular oat-based products, like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Kind Bars, Nature Valley bars, and others, to determine whether they contained any of the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, and at high levels, has been linked to cancer.

Unfortunately, some of the results were not what you might hope. Read Full Article »

Mark Kastel: Real Organic is More Than Avoiding Toxins

August 17th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia Codirector Mark Kastel was interviewed by Thom Hartmann about our newly released Organic Dairy Report. Watch below.

Why are Organic Farms Disappearing (w/Guest Mark Kastel)
from Thom Hartmann Program

Read Full Article »

FDA’s Produce Rule to Hit Small Farmers Hardest

August 16th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: During the public input phase regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, Cornucopia and many other groups told the FDA their proposed rule would be more costly for small and medium size farmers. We also noted that the mountains of manure building up on livestock factory farms pose a greater risk to public health than the manure from smaller farms with healthier animals. The FDA did not choose a scaled and risk-based approach, and, as predicted, most family farmers are shouldering an unfair burden.

Produce safety rule will weigh heaviest on small growers
Food & Environment Reporting Network
by Chuck Abbott

Source: USDA

The smallest fruit and vegetable growers will pay comparatively more than big operators to comply with the so-called Produce Rule from the FDA — as much as 6.8 percent of their sales compared with less than 1 percent for big farmers, said three USDA economists on Wednesday. Similarly, the burden will be lower, in percentage terms, for the major produce-growing states because farmers there will be able to spread compliance costs across a larger volume of commodities, they said in a report.

The FDA has estimated that the cost of compliance with its Produce Rule for U.S. growers will be $368 million over 10 years. The rule flows from the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which requires facilities to take steps to prevent food contamination. The Produce Rule calls for such steps as testing water supplies for bacteria, carefully managing the use of manure as a fertilizer, preventing the contamination of fields by wild animals, and training workers in hygienic practices.

“The many fixed costs … cause compliance costs to be higher as a share of revenue for smaller farms,” said the Economic Research Service report. Read Full Article »

EPA Court-Ordered to Ban Chlorpyrifos

August 14th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Chlorpyrifos was banned by the Obama administration due to its toxicity, notably causing brain damage in children. EPA scientists were in rare agreement on banning this pesticide, but Trump’s former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt called for more study instead. Sued by multiple public interest groups over this decision, the EPA has now been ordered by a federal court to finalize the ban on chlorpyrifos within 60 days. This is a victory for U.S. children and farmworkers. Chlorpyrifos is not allowed in organic agriculture.

Court Orders EPA To Ban Chlorpyrifos, A Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage In Kids
Huffington Post
by Chris D’Angelo and Alexander C. Kaufman

Pediatricians warned that keeping it on the market put “all children at risk.”

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
Source: Gage Skidmore

A federal court on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely used pesticide that’s been linked to learning disabilities in children and that former agency chief Scott Pruitt refused to take off the market.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in a 2-to-1 decision that the EPA offered “no defense” of its decision to delay a ban on chlorpyrifos ― a move the court said violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The law governs pesticides and requires the EPA to ban chemicals from being used on food if they are proven to cause harm.

The agency has 60 days to finalize a ban.

The decision is a major blow to Pruitt, who signed an order in March of last year to allow chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide that has been used on crops such as broccoli to cranberries since the 1960s, to remain on the market for agricultural use. His decision defied the recommendation of EPA scientists. Read Full Article »

North Dakota Oil Extraction Leaves the Land Lifeless

August 14th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Fracking for oil in North Dakota farm fields has left a stain of salt, heavy metals, and radioactivity in the soil which extraction companies are not interested in cleaning up. The salted earth is rendered dead and incapable of crop production. Clean-up involves removal of the contaminated soil, an expensive project that simply moves the toxins to a new location. North Dakota lawmakers are not stepping in, and have not yet chosen to tally up the number of acres affected by this ongoing human-made catastrophe.

Salting the earth: North Dakota farmers struggle with a toxic byproduct of the oil boom
NBC News
by Likhitha Butchireddygari

The state of North Dakota doesn’t even know how many acres of cropland have been damaged by saltwater spills, a byproduct of the local oil boom.

Fracking in North Dakota
Source: Geof Wilson

Daryl Peterson’s farm has been in his family for as long as he’s been alive. His father passed down the 2,500-acre spread, just a few miles from the Canadian border in Antler, North Dakota, nearly 50 years ago. He and his brother Larry have been farming it ever since. But now, in his 70s, Peterson finds himself forced to protect his family’s legacy.

For the past two decades, Peterson and his wife Christine have been dealing with the spillage of saltwater — a byproduct of oil production— on their land, which grows peas, soybeans and various types of grain. Almost 40 years ago, they signed a contract with an oil company “land man” who came to their house and said there might be oil on their land.

In 1997, two spills covered dozens of acres with more than 50,000 gallons of saltwater. A decade later, another 21,000 gallons of saltwater spilled. And since then, though their land never produced much oil or oil revenue, the Petersons say they have seen another 10 spills. Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
Ph: 608-625-2000