Media/News Archive

Farmer Loans On Hold Until the Federal Government Re-Opens

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Cornucopia’s Take: Many farmers have lost opportunities or remain uncertain as to how they will get needed loans for the upcoming growing season with USDA FSA offices closed during the shutdown. Secretary Perdue announced that offices will be open January 17, 18, and 22 to producers with existing loans only.

Farm Country Stood by Trump. But the Shutdown Is Pushing It to Breaking Point.
The New York Times
by Jack Healy and Tyler Pager

Source: www.SeniorLiving.Org, Flickr

In Georgia, a pecan farmer lost out on his chance to buy his first orchard. The local Farm Service Agency office that would have processed his loan application was shut down.

In Wisconsin’s dairy country, a 55-year-old woman sat inside her new dream home, worried she would not be able to pay her mortgage. Her loan had come from an Agriculture Department program for low-income residents in rural areas, but all of the account information she needed to make her first payment was locked away in an empty government office.

And in upstate New York, Pam Moore was feeding hay to her black-and-white cows at a small dairy that tottered on the brink of ruin. She and her husband had run up $350,000 in debt to keep the dairy running after 31 of their cows died of pneumonia, and their last lifeline was an emergency federal farm loan. But the money had been derailed by the government shutdown.

“It has just been one thing after another, after another, after another,” Ms. Moore, 57, said. Read Full Article »

USDA FSA Offices Open Temporarily During Shutdown on January 17, 18, and 22

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Cornucopia’s Take: Producers with existing farm loans who need assistance or 1099s for taxes have three days to get help during the federal government shutdown. Share this story with farmers you know!

USDA FSA offices temporarily reopen during government shutdown

Offices will be open Jan. 17, 18 and 22 to assist producers with existing farm loans and provide 1099 tax documents to borrowers.

USDA Secretary Perdue

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Jan. 16 that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Jan. 17-18, in addition to Jan. 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure that the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline. Read Full Article »

The Best Research Money Can Buy

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia seeks to help eaters find research on what is healthy and what is not, and the task is harder than you might think. In the case of carrageenan, a thickener and emulsifier often used in processing plant-based beverages and other foods, we found a great deal of compelling evidence that carrageenan makes many people sick. The industry continues to argue otherwise, assuring customers that carrageenan is safe—it is, after all, approved by the FDA. But the studies they use to “prove” carrageenan is safe are all self-funded industry studies, procured by companies with a vested interest in finding their products healthful. You can learn more about carrageenan and the ongoing regulatory debacle around it in our report, Carrageenan: New Studies Reinforce Link to Inflammation, Cancer and Diabetes.

Sloppy science meets nutrition research
Gulf News
by Jane E. Brody

The unstated goal of most company-sponsored studies is to increase the bottom line

Source: Flickr

Confused about what to eat and drink to protect your health? I’m not surprised. For example, after decades of research-supported dietary advice to reduce saturated fats to minimise the risk of heart disease and stroke, along comes a new observational study of 136,384 people in 21 countries linking consumption of full-fat (read saturated) dairy foods to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

But without dissecting each study included in this meta-analysis, it is not possible to say what might be behind this surprising result and whether you should now resume putting cream in your coffee and whole milk in your cereal bowl. The study may simply mean that consuming the equivalent of three servings of dairy products a day is healthful, not saturated fat per se.

Caution is in order, especially since another new study, this one a randomly assigned clinical trial, found that three weeks on a diet rich in saturated fat caused liver fat and insulin resistance to rise far higher than diets high in sugar or unsaturated fat.

Or maybe you bought into the hype about pomegranate juice as an antioxidant superfood, only to learn from a new book that the health-promoting evidence for this expensive drink derives mainly from $20 million of company-sponsored research. Read Full Article »

USDA’s “GMO Labeling Law” is a Farce

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Cornucopia’s Take: The GMO labeling law crawled out of the swamp in time for Christmas. The USDA will allow QR codes instead of legitimate labeling and, for those who do choose to label clearly, the necessary language is the little-know phrase, “bioengineered food.” Soda and oils made from GMOs are exempt from any labeling. The article below was written by Max Goldberg, the editor/publisher of Organic Insider, a weekly newsletter about the organic industry.

With its New GMO-Labeling Rule, the USDA Has Completely Failed the American Consumer
Living Maxwell
by Max Goldberg

Based on what we have seen from the current administration’s USDA — the scrapping of the organic animal welfare rules, allowing hydroponics in organic even though it is a complete violation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and turning a blind eye to ‘organic factory farms’ – should anyone be the least bit surprised that the recently released GMO-labeling rules completely fail the American consumer?

Officially announced right before Christmas, key aspects of the new GMO-labeling rules – also known as the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – include the following:

– Instead of requiring companies to use the on-package labels “Made with GMOs” or “Made with Genetic Engineering”, which would make it easy for consumers, the USDA has done the polar opposite.

Not only are companies not required to use on-package labels, but they can use QR codes instead. As the Center for Food Safety has long argued, QR codes are inherently discriminatory to the elderly, poor, rural and minorities.

And if companies do use an on-package label, it must use the phrase “bioengineered food,” a term not commonly used or understood by consumers. Read Full Article »

FDA Food Inspections Sharply Curtailed During Shutdown

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Cornucopia’s Take: All routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities have been suspended during the ongoing partial federal government shutdown. A small number of inspectors will likely be called back next week without pay to monitor high-risk facilities to mitigate consumer risk.

Government shutdown stops FDA food safety inspections
NBC News
by Maggie Fox

“There are important things we are not doing,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says.

FDA microbiologist prepares
seafood samples blended with
an enrichment broth to be
tested for microorganisms.
Source: FDA, Flickr

The ongoing federal government shutdown has stopped most food safety inspections, but the Food and Drug Administration is planning to resume at least some of them. To do it, the agency will have to force furloughed workers to come back without pay.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said he is trying to pinpoint the most essential inspections, while making sure that employees do not suffer too much.

“There’s no question of whether it’s business as usual at FDA,” Gottlieb told NBC News.

“It’s not business as usual, and we are not doing all the things we would do under normal circumstances. There are important things we are not doing.”

This means FDA inspectors are not looking for salmonella in breakfast cerealE. coli in romaine lettuce, or listeria in ice cream. Companies can still make their own checks, of course, and the FDA is still announcing those recalls.

Foreign food inspections are also continuing, almost as normal, because they’re considered so important. But the FDA has virtually stopped inspecting domestic food production facilities, which could mean threats to the public are going undetected. “We’re doing everything we can to try to maintain our basic consumer protection role. That’s our focus,” Gottlieb said in an interview late Tuesday. Read Full Article »