Cornucopia News Archive

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 »

Carrageenan Advisory

Monday, September 26th, 2016
Source: Anders Adermark

Many companies that use carrageenan in their food and personal care products vehemently defend its use. It’s not unusual to see rhetoric on their websites that comes directly from the carrageenan trade group lobby. These companies choose to ignore independently funded research (i.e. by the National Institute of Health), in favor of industry-funded studies.

When Dr. Bronner’s, a food and personal care products company known for their dedication to sourcing organic and fair trade ingredients, learned about the carrageenan controversy, the company immediately stated that they would remove it from their then recently introduced toothpaste. That was over a year ago.

It has come to our attention that some of their old inventory containing carrageenan still exists in the market. Their peppermint flavor, the bestseller, appears to be completely carrageenan free at this point. But some of their cinnamon and anise flavored products might still exist in the marketplace containing the ingredient. Please read packaging carefully.
All of Dr. Bronner’s current toothpaste production is carrageenan-free.

For more on toothpaste, read Cornucopia’s report, Behind the Dazzling Smile: Toxic Ingredients in Your Toothpaste. Read Full Article »

Farm Aid’s Strange Agribusiness Bedfellows: Concert Sponsor Investigated for Organic Labeling Improprieties

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Another Farm Aid Misstep: Partnering with Corporate Agribusiness While Purporting to Support Family Farmers

Top Sponsor “Indicted” for Misrepresenting Itself as Organic

CORNUCOPIA, WI: On the eve of the annual Farm Aid concert, Saturday in Bristow, Virginia, The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, has filed a formal legal complaint against Farm Aid’s marquee sponsor, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, alleging it misrepresents its products as “organic.”

This is not the first time Cornucopia has attempted to bring serious ethical concerns to the attention of Farm Aid’s Board of Directors and management.

At past concerts Farm Aid has showcased their sponsor Silk, the leading brand of plant-based beverages, then owned by the giant dairy conglomerate Dean Foods (a.k.a. WhiteWave). Cornucopia supplied Farm Aid officials with information concerning Silk abandoning U.S. farmers to purchase organic soybeans from China at cheaper prices. Another past marquee Farm Aid sponsor, also owned by Dean/WhiteWave, was the Horizon Organic dairy brand, with a considerable amount of their milk production coming from giant “factory farms” with a history of violating the organic federal standards.

“Quite frankly,” said the Cornucopia Institute’s Codirector Mark Kastel, “we don’t really mind if Farm Aid raises money from corporate agribusinesses, and then launders it by making small grants to nonprofits that help family farmers. But we do mind them greenwashing some of the brands owned by ‘bad actors’ in the organic industry.”

bonterra-screen-shot-3a-rev-a The current dustup alleges Bonterra, a brand owned by the giant Chilean conglomerate Concha y Toro, and operated under its Fetzer subsidiary in California, as misrepresenting its wine as organic.  Their website clearly states that, “all of our award-winning wines are certified organic by CCOF.” The company also touts its “organic collection” on their e-commerce portal. Based on Cornucopia’s initial investigation, none of the company’s wine is actually certified organic.

It appears that only the grapes are organic.  Wine producers that add sulfur dioxide, a synthetic preservative, cannot legally qualify to represent their products as organic. Preservatives, including sulfur dioxide (or sulfites) are explicitly banned in U.S. organic food and wine production.

“There is nothing improper about labeling your wine ‘made with organic grapes’ and then adding sulfites,” said Kastel. “However, look at the preponderance of the Bonterra marketing campaign: the patently illegal and misleading verbiage on their website, the logo of the largest organic certifier in the country on their primary label, and their subterfuge in terms of corporate ownership. It’s a shame that Farm Aid didn’t choose one of the high-integrity, certified organic vintners that they could proudly stand with.” Read Full Article »

Toothless GMO Food Labeling Bill Becomes Law

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Corporate Elites Betray Organics

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

by Will Fantle,
Codirector at The Cornucopia Institute

Source: Adobe Stock

The looming July 1 implementation date for Vermont’s first-of-a-kind, historic GMO food ingredients labeling law pushed Monsanto and other corporate giants in retailing, biotechnology, and agribusiness into overdrive as they ramped up pressure on Congress to negate the state law.

Labeling opponents wisely identified Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, as the key to crafting what they described as a “compromise” bill.  Stabenow’s bill was able to move enough Senate Democrats to join with an already solid block of Republicans to muscle through its swift passage. Read Full Article »

A New Day for New Morning

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

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

by Rachel Zegerius,
Communications and Development Associate at The Cornucopia Institute

New Morning Farm

A warm spring morning finds Pennsylvania organic farmer Jim Crawford where any farmer might be this time of year….on a bicycle trek in Germany? Over 4,000 miles from his fields, Jim is touring the historic streets of Berlin, while apprentices zealously plant and prepare soil for what hopes to be another productive year at Crawford’s 95-acre New Morning Farm.

It begs the question: How can a successful, life-long farmer evade the impulse to farm during the outset of the growing season? Not by accident. Intentional and strategic, Crawford is striving to implement a well-thought-out legacy plan.

He explains, “We’re always thinking about the future of what we do.” With this trip he is leaning into retirement, reaping the harvest of many years practicing patience and communication, cultivating a foundation of trust in his successors. Read Full Article »