Cornucopia’s Take: Although the annual dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is smaller in size this year due to strong winds which concentrated the dead zone into a smaller-than-predicted area, it remains a threat to ocean life. Fertilizer applied in the Midwest creates vast algal bloom, which, in turn, uses up the oxygen in the surrounding waters. Organic and sustainable farming methods offer strategies to lessen fertilizer contamination of the Mississippi River and shrink the dead zone.
How can the Midwest fix the ocean it has killed? MPR News by Cody Nelson
Farm field runoff makes its way to the Mississippi River Source: USDA NRCS, Lynn Betts
At the bottom of the Mississippi River’s journey from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico lies the world’s largest dead zone.
This particular dead zone at the Mississippi’s mouth is a swath of ocean, big as New Jersey at its peak, that’s choked for oxygen. There, native plants die. Marine animals move away, or die.
The dead zone most directly harms people and industry along the Gulf Coast, but states to the north had the biggest hand in causing it.
Mississippi River valley states have poured millions of dollars into restoring water and soil health in the river valley. The dead zone has only gotten bigger.
Scientists know what it’ll take to fix the dead zone. But the best solutions are unattainable under the status quo.
Still, there are farming and conservation techniques offering hope for the oxygen-starved mouth of the Mississippi. Read Full Article »
Cornucopia’s Take: When Obama’s USDA jettisoned the country of origin labeling law (COOL), under industry pressure, they opened the door for deceptive labeling. Foreign beef processed in the U.S. can legally be labeled “product of the U.S.A.” Shoppers are being lied to, and domestic grass-fed beef producers have almost been shut out of their own market. The American Grassfed Association has filed a petition on regulations.gov, seeking to ensure what is labeled as a product of the U.S.A. actually is. Send your comments to the USDA by August 17.
Foreign beef can legally be labeled “Product of U.S.A.” It’s killing America’s grass-fed industry. The New Food Economy by Joe Fassler
How rampant mislabeling puts America’s grass-based cattle producers out of business.
Last month, in a petition formally filed with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), two advocacy groups made a stunning claim: Your American grass-fed beef might actually come from overseas, even if it’s labeled “Product of U.S.A.”
Those two groups—the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which offers the country’s leading “grass-fed” certification, and the Organization for Competitive Markets, a watchdog group that fights corporate consolidation in the food industry—point out that a massive regulatory loophole allows companies to falsely, and yet legally, claim their imported beef comes from our pastures. Read Full Article »
Cornucopia’s Take: The story below details the medical horrors visited on poultry plant workers subjected to dangerous antimicrobial sprays at work. The sprays include peracetic acid (PAA), which is used to kill bacteria, like salmonella and campylobacter, commonly found on birds raised in factory farm conditions across the U.S. Many undocumented immigrants work at poultry plants, and their legal status makes them unlikely to speak up about their unsafe working conditions. The USDA appears more concerned with protecting agribusiness interests than human health.
SOMETHING IN THE AIR The Intercept by Eyal Press
Jessica Robertson Got Sick Working as an Inspector at a Poultry Plant. Now She’s Speaking Out to Defend Workers Exposed to Chemicals.
Like many people in Sanpete County, Utah, a rural area roughly 100 miles south of Salt Lake City, Jessica Robertson likes to spend her Sundays in church. Unlike many of them, the house of worship she frequents is not a chapel filled with copies of the Book of Mormon, but the landscape surrounding her home, a windswept valley dotted with cedar and aspen groves that she regards as her sanctuary. Originally from Milwaukee, Robertson, who is 47, has lived here for 20 years, in a small house set behind a split-rail fence off a rutted dirt road. When tending to the horses on her property or hiking along one of the trails that twist through the valley, where elk and mule deer roam and bald eagles sometimes circle overhead, she feels at peace.
Lately, though, feeling at peace has been rare for Robertson, owing to the chronic health problems that have plagued her in recent years. In 2002, Robertson began working as a part-time poultry inspector at a turkey processing plant in Moroni, a 20-minute drive from her home. It was a good job in a place where steady employment was hard to come by, she thought at the time, even if it entailed checking the carcasses of turkeys rotating by at speeds that made spotting defects — and avoiding repetitive strain injuries — challenging. By 2008, Robertson had become a full-time consumer safety inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the years that followed, she also had three elbow surgeries and sustained a serious nerve injury in her neck.
After completing six months of physical therapy for the neck pain, Robertson figured her health problems were behind her. But in 2015, she started to experience some stranger symptoms — itchy eyes, shortness of breath, coughing fits. At work, she noticed, her voice would start to cut out by the middle of the week. By week’s end, she could hardly speak. She also started waking up at night with a bloody nose. Robertson wasn’t the only employee experiencing odd symptoms. Another USDA inspector, Tina McClellan, with whom Robertson was close friends, complained to her of headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems. Line workers at the plant confided to Robertson that they, too, were falling ill. Read Full Article »
Cornucopia’s Take: The company responsible for the vegan meat alternative, Impossible Burger, never performed sufficient food safety studies to receive the FDA’s “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) status. When the FDA requested lengthier studies, Impossible Burger simply put its GMO yeast-containing product on the market without GRAS status. In response to criticism, Impossible Burger has attacked the credibility of its critics and called on industry experts known to defend the likes of Big Tobacco, pesticides, and other biotech products. What’s more, the Impossible Burger has found its way onto menus without being clearly recognized by restaurants as genetically modified.
Impossible Burger and the Road to Consumer Distrust EcoWatch by Stacy Malkan
Impossible Burger ad: No mention of GMOs Source: Anokarina
For anyone who wonders why consumers aren’t inspired to trust the GMO industry, consider this bizarre statement from Impossible Foods Chief Communications Officer Rachel Konrad in defense of the Impossible Burger, a veggie burger made more meat-like via genetically engineered yeast.
Konrad was upset by a June 27 Bloomberg article Is it too early for fake meat? that raised concerns about insufficient research, regulation and labeling in the realm of new food technologies.
Konrad took to Medium, blasting critics of the Impossible Burger as “anti-science fundamentalists” and “setting the record straight” with information she sourced from chemical industry front groups and other unreliable anti-consumer messengers who regularly communicate inaccurate information about science. Read Full Article »
Cornucopia’s Take: Monsanto is presently in court, fighting the first case of about 5,000 currently pending against the chemical company for cancers allegedly caused by their products containing glyphosate. Dr. Mercola posted this summary of the situation.
This Evil Corporation Bullies Scientists to Cover Up Toxicity Mercola.com by Dr. Mercola
Source: NRCS, Tim McCabe
Thousands of people across the U.S. have now filed lawsuits alleging that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, caused them to develop cancer. A cluster of more than 400 lawsuits from farmers, landscapers and others claiming Roundup caused Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cell cancer, were consolidated before a federal judge, and Monsanto tried to get the cases dismissed.
The judge, however, recently ruled they will be allowed to proceed,1 and the first case — that of DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who alleges Roundup caused his terminal cancer — is already in court. Monsanto has continued to maintain that Roundup doesn’t cause cancer and is one of the safest herbicides on the planet, even as evidence stacks up against them.
In the first landmark trial, attorneys even alleged that Monsanto (which was taken over by Bayer in June 2018) has resorted to bullying independent researchers and rejected critical warnings about their toxic products. Read Full Article »