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.

Organic Industry Watchdog Lobbies for Stricter Regulations Governing Imports

July 24th, 2017

After 10 Years of Pressure by The Cornucopia Institute, an Article in The Washington Post is Changing the Competitive Landscape in Organics

A recent Washington Post investigation illustrated serious flaws in the organic certification program at the USDA, undermining confidence in the organic label and spotlighting the harm domestic organic grain farmers continue to suffer at the hands of unscrupulous competitors in the international supply chain.

The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry research and policy organization, is taking action to hold the USDA accountable.  Cornucopia has sent a formal request petitioning the USDA to enact critical new regulations that will make it increasingly difficult for fraudulent organic imports to cross U.S. borders.

In addition, the watchdog group will be reporting to consumers and wholesale buyers which organic brands exclusively source domestic organic feed for their meat, dairy products and eggs.

“Cornucopia is using both legal and marketplace channels to put an end to this profiteering that damages the organic label,” said Will Fantle, Cornucopia’s research director. “We are putting pressure on the USDA as we develop tools to help buyers avoid these wholesale scams in the marketplace.” Read Full Article »

Biotech Industry Writing Its Own Rules

July 21st, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Monsanto and the other biotech firms share the common obstacle of international regulation. As such, they have spent the last decade recreating the global ISBGMO conference to focus on industry regulatory objectives like “modernization” and “simplification.” They seek to build GMO approval into the testing process while keeping their data private. As more and more GMO products are rolled into the marketplace, the public needs a transparent and honest process, which we don’t have at the moment.

The Biotech Industry Is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs from the Inside
Independent Science News
by Jonathan Latham, PhD

The British non-profit GMWatch recently revealed the agribusiness takeover of Conabia, the National Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology of Argentina. Conabia is the GMO assessment body of Argentina. According to GMWatch, 26 of 34 its members were either agribusiness company employees or had major conflicts of interest*.

Packing a regulatory agency with conflicted individuals is one way to ensure speedy GMO approvals and Conabia has certainly delivered that. A much more subtle, but ultimately more powerful, way is to bake approval into the structure of the GMO assessment process itself. It is easier than you might think. Read Full Article »

Meat Grown in a Vat May be Coming to Stores in 2018

July 21st, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Although billed as a sustainable source of meat, the necessary use of fetal bovine serum is a major controversy. Cornucopia offers no comment on the potential “yuck factor” of lab-grown meat but the secretive process of its creation needs explaining.

Lab-Grown Meat Will Be In Your Supermarket Next Year—Would You Eat It?
Rodale’s Organic Life
by Stephanie Eckelkamp

Is this the sustainable eco meat we’ve all been waiting for?

Sure, lab-grown meat sounds like the stuff of sci-fi movies set far into the future—but what if we told you it could be in your local grocery store by late 2018?

Turns out, Hampton Creek—the company behind a variety of vegan packaged foods from mayo to cookie dough to salad dressings—is planning to make that happen.

Last week, the company announced that it’s been working on technology to produce lab-grown meat and seafood; and in an interview with Quartz, the company’s CEO Josh Tetrick said they’ll have product on store shelves by the end of next year. Other startups working on so-called “clean meat” produced in a lab aren’t expected to get anything to market until 2021.

While this lab-grown meat is expected to cost up to 30 percent more than its real meat counterpart, price will supposedly decrease over time, and Hampton Creek estimates that production will be 10 times more efficient than traditional meat production—using less water, land and energy, according to a SFGate article.  Read Full Article »

Germany is the Largest Organic Market in Europe

July 20th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: 7.5% of all arable land in Germany is now being farmed organically. The German government has set a goal of 20% organic farmland. By contrast, approximately 1% of farmland in the U.S. is certified organic.

Organic farming reaches record level in Germany

Source: eLKayPics

Increasing numbers of German farmers are relying on organic production, with 7.5 percent of all arable land now cultivated ecologically. The government has set its sights on an ambitious target of 20 percent.

According to new figures from the Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE), the total area of ecologically cultivated land in Germany in 2016 rose 14.9 percent in comparison with the year before to reach 1.25 million hectares (3.09 million acres). That represents 7.5 percent of all arable land.

As a comparison, in 2015, 6.5 percent of all arable land was cultivated ecologically, up from 3.2 percent at the turn of the millennium. The number of organic farms also rose last year by 9.6 percent to 27,132.

Compared to the year 2000, the number of organic farms has more than doubled from 12,740. Read Full Article »

Dicamba Altercation Leads to Death

July 20th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Amaranth, a common weed threat to crops, has become resistant to other herbicides on the market. Many conventional farmers have turned to more chemicals for help. Dicamba is an older generation herbicide known for its propensity to drift and damage nearby crops. The recent release of seeds genetically modified for resistance to dicamba has resulted in an unprecedented amount of crop damage, as the chemical cannot be sprayed without the fear of damaging the preferred crop. Dicamba is prohibited in organic agriculture.

Cornucopia recognizes the suffering of farmers as they seek solutions. Condolences to all of the farmers, friends, and family involved in this tragedy.

Weed killer turns neighbor against neighbor in farm country
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press

Soybean damage from dicamba
Source: U of A System Division of Agriculture

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A longtime Arkansas soybean farmer, Mike Wallace thought of his neighbors as a community and always was willing to lend a hand if they faced any hardships with their crops.

“Mike would do anything for any farmer,” his wife, Karen, said. “If there was a farmer who got sick in harvest time or planting time or whatever, he would say, ‘What can I do to help? Here’s my equipment. Here’s my guys. Let’s go do it.'”

But across much of farm country, a dispute over a common weed killer is turning neighbor against neighbor. The furor surrounding the herbicide known as dicamba has quickly become the biggest controversy of its kind in U.S. agriculture, and it is even suspected as a factor in Wallace’s death in October, when he was allegedly shot by a worker from a nearby farm where the chemical had been sprayed. Read Full Article »

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