Cornucopia News Archive

Amid Controversy, Secrecy, and Lawsuits, 5,000 Organic Stakeholders Call for New Management at USDA National Organic Program

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Secret Documents Released: Reading Room Established for Material Obtained from USDA through Federal Lawsuits

ci_foiareadingroom_releaseThe Cornucopia Institute has delivered to the USDA more than 5,000 individually signed letters from farmers and consumers calling for new management of the National Organic Program (NOP).  The Wisconsin-based organic food and farm policy research group collected the letters from concerned organic advocates across the country.

“This is one more indication of the growing dissatisfaction with Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy’s direction and oversight of the rapidly growing organic industry,” said Mark Kastel, who acts as Cornucopia’s Senior Farm Policy Analyst.

The Cornucopia Institute, along with many other public interest groups, has been highly critical of what they describe as a “corporate takeover” of the regulatory process that Congress designed specifically to protect organic rulemaking from the influence of agribusiness lobbyists. Read Full Article »

Cornucopia Asks Regulators to Block Merger

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Groupe Danone/WhiteWave Would Dominate the Organic Dairy Market

[This article was previously published in the fall issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Marie Burcham, JD
Farm and Food Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute

Certified Organic Factory Farms
(Above) Hilltop LLC, Boehning Dairy
in Earth, TX (May 17, 2014).
(Below) No evidence of cows on pasture at
Horizon Dairy in Kennedyville, MD
(Sept. 27, 2014)

The French dairy giant Groupe Danone (Dannon in the U.S.) has announced the proposed acquisition of WhiteWave Foods for approximately $10 billion.

The deal would combine the world’s largest organic yogurt brand, Stonyfield, with Wallaby, a rapidly growing yogurt label, and Horizon, the nation’s largest brand of organic milk.

Cornucopia has formally challenged the acquisition based on the serious erosion of competition it would create in the consumer marketplace and the negative economic impact it would have on U.S. organic dairy farmers.

WhiteWave brands are the top sellers in their categories. Horizon organic milk controls nearly 25% of the organic milk market, while their Silk brand is a leader in plant-based beverages. Danone will be taking control of a bigger piece of the organic dairy market than has ever been controlled by a single company. Read Full Article »

A REAL Apple a Day

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Why to Purchase Local and Organic This Fall

[This article was previously published in the fall issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Linley Dixon, PhD
Farm and Food Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute

Source: Adobe Stock

Fall, in most regions of the U.S., means an abundance of local apples. They’re likely not as big or picture-perfect as the apples in the grocery store, but local apples, organics especially, pack a taste that is often sweet, tart, and more complex than their conventional counterparts.

Below are just a few of the many reasons why you should buy organically grown apples from your local farmer this season. Read Full Article »

Congressional GMO Voters Guide: Who Sold Out the “Right to Know”

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

The Cornucopia Institute Grades Senators and Representatives Ahead of Fall Election

ci_voterguiderighttoknowEvery member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives has received a grade on their votes during the last session of Congress on issues concerning transparency and the labeling of GMO food ingredients. The scorecard was prepared by The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group watchdogging government and industry on matters impacting organic food and agriculture.

“Public polling continues to indicate that consumers are very interested in the right-to-know what is in their food and want transparency in the use of GMO food ingredients,” said Jason Cole, a researcher for Cornucopia who gathered and analyzed the voting data. “We think voters will also be interested in digesting how their elected officials graded out on these issues as they prepare to cast their ballots on November 8.”

In the House, 88 members received an “A” or a “B” on the seven legislative issues concerning GMOs. Six representatives scored an “A+”.  In contrast, a whopping 196 representatives totaled zero points and received an “F” on Cornucopia’s report card. Read Full Article »

Triclosan Banned by FDA from Soaps but Still OK in Toothpaste

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

[Read Cornucopia’s letter to the FDA.]

Scorecard Identifies Brands without Toxics

Toothpaste_Report_coverborderThe Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, has sent the FDA a letter requesting that the agency ban a possible carcinogen, triclosan, from toothpastes, as they have recently done for hand soaps.

The agency prohibited the use of the chemical in hand soaps on September 6.  Triclosan has been linked to skin irritation, endocrine disruption, breast cancer, allergies in children, and weakened muscle function.

“If this chemical is not safe to wash your hands with, then we should also remove it from products that you put directly in your mouth,” asserts Mark Kastel, Senior Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.

Cornucopia’s latest report, Behind the Dazzling Smile:  Toxic Ingredients in Your Toothpaste, describes how even the quality of “natural” toothpastes varies significantly between brands and how these personal oral care products commonly include nonessential ingredients that may be harmful. Read Full Article »