Media/News Archive

GE Salmon Caught, Temporarily, in a Net of Regulation

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Genetically engineered (GE) salmon by AquaBounty have yet to hit U.S. markets, in part because the FDA has yet to come out with their GE labeling law. Funding behind the GE salmon appears to be nearly infinite, and AquaBounty is determined to wait out legislators and policies. While it is likely that these fish will make it to U.S. markets at some point, many retailers have already stated they will not carry the controversial fish, and modern salmon breeding has already produced fish that mature as quickly as the AqaBounty fish. We will continue to monitor this story as it unfolds.

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The Fight to Keep GE-Salmon Off of Our Dinner Plates is a Complicated and Uncertain One
Organic Insider

Source: AquaBounty

As many of you may remember, President Obama’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the highly controversial genetically-engineered salmon in 2015, against the vocal opposition from millions of Americans, 40 members of Congress, and more than 300 environmental, consumer, health and animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and associations, food companies, chefs, and restaurants.

Yet, here we are more than two years later, and GE-salmon is still not available in the U.S., a fortunate reality but one that may not last forever. Read Full Article »

Honoring the Life and Work of Dr. Samuel Epstein

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

When I first met Doctor Epstein, I was fighting Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) as a lobbyist for the Farmers Union, on behalf of dairy producers. To say that Doctor Epstein was “no nonsense” might’ve been an understatement. If he felt that a commercial interest was aiding and abetting introducing carcinogens into the human bloodstream, he did not mince words.

He’s one of those people about whom I’ve always said, “I’m sure as heck glad he’s on my side. I wouldn’t want to be fighting him.”

– Mark Kastel

Dr. Samuel Epstein, 91, Cassandra of Cancer Prevention, Dies
The New York Times
by Sam Roberts

Published by Dr. Epstein
in 1978

In 1926, when Samuel S. Epstein was born in Yorkshire, an English baby boy’s estimated life span was about 60 years. Dr. Epstein lived to be 91, after devoting his career to preventing cancer and heeding his own advice. He died of cardiac arrest on March 18 in Chicago.

In his own way, Dr. Epstein seemed to be getting the last word in an argument he first ignited four decades ago, when he blamed greedy manufacturers, lax regulators, misguided researchers and complicit charitable groups for what he saw as a coming cancer epidemic.

A widely read author and widely heard lecturer, Dr. Epstein was venerated by some as an environmental prophet and reviled by others as an overzealous toxin avenger. He outlived many of his critics, perhaps because he had practiced what he preached about prevention in his own life. Read Full Article »

Unreleased FDA Testing Reveals Glyphosate in Common Household Foods

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: As glyphosate is sprayed on corn, soy, wheat, and oat crops in rising amounts, it is finding its way into cereals, crackers, and many other products on grocery store shelves. Unfortunately, the FDA is under no obligation to share their full findings with public, unless the public files a freedom of information request, as The Guardian has done. The FDA official report will be released in late 2018 or early 2019. Glyphosate is not allowed in organic agriculture, although its ubiquitous use in conventional and GMO agriculture has caused widespread contamination of soil and water.

Weedkiller found in granola and crackers, internal FDA emails show
The Guardian
by Carey Gillam

The FDA has been testing food samples for traces of glyphosate for two years, but the agency has not yet released any official results

Source: Les DeFoor

US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in hundreds of widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results.

But the internal documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.

“I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year regarding glyphosate. Thompson, who is based in an FDA regional laboratory in Arkansas, wrote that broccoli was the only food he had “on hand” that he found to be glyphosate-free. Read Full Article »

Francis Thicke’s Testimony to the NOSB

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Francis Thicke runs Radiance Dairy, a 236-acre grass-based dairy in Iowa. He retired from his position as an environmental representative on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) last year, offering deeply honest and memorable closing comments. Francis is presently the chair of the Policy Committee of the Organic Farmers Association and sits on the Real Organic Standards Board. He gave testimony at the recent NOSB webinar on the European Union’s prohibition of hydroponics in organic. Read his comments below.

Francis Thicke testimony to the NOSB webinar:

Francis Thicke

My name is Francis Thicke, and I am speaking today on behalf of the Organic Farmers Association. The Organic Farmers Association is a national membership organization for certified organic farmers and their supporters. Our mission is to provide a strong and unified voice for U.S. certified organic producers.

The Organic Farmers Association has learned of very recent developments in the European Union that have major ramifications for US hydroponic production that is certified organic.

Just this morning (April 19) the European Parliament voted on and passed a regulation that does three things: First, it confirms an existing EU ban on hydroponic production; second, it introduces a stricter definition of soil-bound production, that it must be connected to subsoil and bedrock; and third, it will prohibit the importation of hydroponically produced organic food from non-EU nations, including the United States. This new regulation, approved today, will take effect January 1, 2021. Read Full Article »

EU Bans “Organic” Hydroponic Imports

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Beginning in 2021, the European Union will no longer accept produce labeled “organic” that has been produced hydroponically, including so-called “container production.” European hydroponic producers who use approved organic inputs will still be able to export their produce to the U.S., although their produce will not be eligible for organic status in their own country. It remains to be seen whether this will increase hydroponic exports from the EU to the U.S. Cornucopia continues to insist that soil-less hydroponic production of vegetables and fruits should not be eligible for sale in the U.S. as organic.

New EU organic law bans hydroponic organic imports
Sustainable Food News

Revised organic production and labeling rules to go into effect in 2021

Hydroponic production is not organic in the EU
Image source: AgriLife Today

Members of the European Parliament on Thursday voted to approve new regulations for the certification and labeling of organic food.

The EP members voted 466 to 124, with 50 abstentions, to adopt the new EU law on organic production and labeling, as agreed by Parliament’s negotiators and EU ministers in June.

Once the new regulations are formally approved by the Council of EU ministers, the revised law on organic production and labeling of organic products would go into effect in January 2021.

The EU’s annual retail sales of organics reached €30.7 billion in 2016 with an annual growth rate of 12 percent.

For exporters of organic products to the EU, the new law means producers from non-EU countries who want to sell their products in the EU need to comply with the same rules as producers in the EU. Read Full Article »