Promoting Economic Justice for Family-Scale Farming

NEWS FROM THE CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE

News From the Cornucopia Institute

March 19, 2016

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Toxic Chemicals in Your Toothpaste?

Source: Dollar Photo Club

Source: Dollar Photo Club

You likely know where your food comes from, but did you know that your toothpaste may contain some very questionable ingredients, including petrochemicals? Because toothpaste is regulated as a cosmetic product, its ingredients do not require FDA approval and commonly include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), triclosan, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, carrageenan, and fluoride. Chemicals are easily absorbed by the mouth membrane, by-passing digestion and directly entering the bloodstream. Virtually untested, the synergistic effects of compounds in toothpaste may be more toxic than the individual ingredients. This spring, Cornucopia will release a report and buyer’s guide to help consumers decide which toothpastes use the healthiest ingredients.

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A Bright Alternative to the Dark Act

Source: CT Senate Democrats

Source: CT Senate Democrats

Earlier this month Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act requiring GMO labeling. Their proposal is in stark contrast to the DARK Act, which would prohibit states from passing their own labeling laws in favor of continued voluntary labeling of GMOs. This new legislation would allow consumers to easily discern whether a product contains genetically engineered ingredients without requiring manufacturers to issue warning-like disclosures on the front panel. Cornucopia urges consumers to join Beyond Pesticides in opposition to the DARK Act and in support of legislation like the Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act here.

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Nearly All Germans Contaminated with Glyphosate

Source: Moyan Brenn

Source: Moyan Brenn

A new study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation suggests that 99.6% of Germans are contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate. The urine of 75% of the study’s 2,009 participants contained five times the legal limit for glyphosate in drinking water. One-third tested at between ten and 42 times the legal drinking water limit. Children and teens, particularly those raised on farms, displayed the highest levels of contamination. Meat eaters displayed higher levels of contamination than vegetarians and vegans, perhaps due to the common use of Roundup-ready soy and corn in animal feed. Glyphosate's use is up for reauthorization by the European Union this June.

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Free: Managed Grazing Tutorial by NCAT

Source: Jennifer Bradford

Source: Jennifer Bradford

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has released an online tutorial on managed grazing. Tutorial lessons discuss how strategic livestock management improves soil health, pastures, and farm income. The self-paced lessons are taught by NCAT specialists with years of experience managing their own pastures. Many real-world examples are given, as well as links to additional resources to help producers start and refine managed grazing systems.

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A Complex Nut to Crack

Source: Dollar Photo Club

Source: Dollar Photo Club

Bill and Rita Barrackman have had their share of learning opportunities as organic pistachio growers in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. Since purchasing Saddleback Orchard in 1990, they have contended with water rights issues and alkaline soils, planted 5,000 pistachio trees, installed a new irrigation system, and designed and engineered equipment for the construction of their own processing plant. Bill credits his previous career as a systems analyst and programmer with his holistic approach to farming, noting “It requires systems thinking, really.” The Barrackmans market their certified organic pistachios through distributors and directly to consumers via their website.

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The Cornucopia Institute

is a nonprofit organization engaged in research and educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, The Cornucopia Institute provides needed information to family farmers, consumers, stakeholders involved in the good food movement, and the media.

P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
TEL: 608-625-2000 | FAX: 866-861-2214 | www.cornucopia.org