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.

Attorneys Allege EPA Colluded with Monsanto

February 20th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Non Hodgkin lymphoma sufferers have sued Monsanto for covering up evidence concerning Roundup’s relationship to cancer. The plaintiff’s attorneys have submitted a 2013 letter from an EPA scientist to a top-ranking EPA official, accusing the official of favoring the industry and intimidating staff.  All too often, the regulated control what the regulators do.


Questions about EPA-Monsanto collusion raised in cancer lawsuits
The Huffington Post
by Carey Gillam

Source: USDA

Now it’s getting interesting.

A new court filing made on behalf of dozens of people claiming Monsanto Co.’s Roundup herbicide gave them cancer includes information about alleged efforts within the Environmental Protection Agency to protect Monsanto’s interests and unfairly aid the agrichemical industry.

The filing, made late Friday by plaintiff’s attorneys, includes what the attorneys represent to be correspondence from a 30-year career EPA scientist accusing top-ranking EPA official Jess Rowland of playing “your political conniving games with the science” to favor pesticide manufacturers such as Monsanto. Rowland oversaw the EPA’s cancer assessment for glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s weed-killing products, and was a key author of a report finding glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic. But in the correspondence, longtime EPA toxicologist Marion Copley cites evidence from animal studies and writes: “It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.”

Read Full Article »

Important Pet Food News

February 20th, 2017

In light of the recent discovery of pentobarbital (a drug used for euthanasia ) in select lots of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef dog food, Cornucopia has temporarily suspended the Evanger’s rating on our Pet Food Guide, pending further investigation.

While this brand did meet our initial criteria for a very positive rating, we feel that this situation raises questions about the quality of their ingredients sourcing and integrity and we await the results of an ongoing FDA investigation. None of their organic products are currently a part of the recall. Read Full Article »

Showdown at the Organic Corral

February 15th, 2017

Dueling Corporate Interests Wait to See What the New Trump/Perdue Administration Will Do with the Pending Updates to Organic Animal Welfare Standards

 Industry watchdog releases detailed analysis of pending rule

One of the pending regulations released in the final days of the Obama administration, and put on hold by the Trump White House, was an already controversial rule that pits legitimate family-scale organic farmers against the operators of “factory farms” that had already been accused of violating existing organic animal welfare standards.  A newly released analysis by a prominent organic industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, explains what is at stake and why economically powerful forces in organics are squawking, principally, over new space requirements proposed for chickens.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule was published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, and amends current organic livestock and poultry production requirements. The new rule adds provisions for livestock handling, avian living conditions, and transport for slaughter, and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices.  It includes mandates for the care of cattle, hogs, and poultry.

“The new rulemaking was in response to a more than decade-long controversy about concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms, confining as many as two million laying hens on a single ‘farm’ without the legally mandated access to the outdoors,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.  “This rule neither solves the problem nor makes any faction in the industry happy,” Kastel added.

Herbruck’s “organic” poultry operation in Saranac, Michigan

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Hain Celestial Under SEC Investigation

February 14th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Many large, primarily conventional corporations have bought organic brands, and Hain Celestial is no exception. Consumers committed to supporting independent brands with a true commitment to organic values can use Cornucopia’s scorecards to help make choices at the market.


Organic food giant under SEC investigation
Sustainable Food News

Hain Celestial’s stock drops to lowest level since June 2013 after agency subpoenas documents

Shares of the Hain Celestial Group, Inc. plunged more than 15 percent to a new low Monday morning after the organic and natural food giant manufacturer said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has placed it under investigation and subpoenaed it for documents related to its previously reported accounting errors.

The Lake Success, N.Y.-based company (NASDAQ: HAIN), which owns the Earth’s Best organic baby food and BluePrint cold-pressed juice brands, among others, said in a securities filing late Friday that it “is in the process of responding to the SEC’s requests for information and intends to cooperate fully” with the agency’s investigation. Read Full Article »

Kinder CAFOs?

February 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: While we are pleased that some improvements are occurring in conventional agriculture, Cornucopia recommends only certified organic food. For instance, the label Certified Humane does not limit flock size, prohibit beak trimming, or require outdoor access in laying hens.


The US is making a big shift away from factory farming
Business Insider
by Gus Lubin

Hens in battery cages
Source: Farm Sanctuary

The US is quietly making historic progress on farm animal welfare, with ten states and hundreds of brands coming out against the most notorious kinds of factory farming.

“You’re seeing almost every major retailer, almost every major fast food producer and restaurant chain committing to phasing out the use of battery cages and/or gestation crates,” ASPCA Farm Welfare director Daisy Freund tells Business Insider. “We are going beyond our dreams here, and yet we’re really just getting started.” Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
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