The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

GMO Salmon is Being Sold as Sushi

September 14th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Although AquaBounty, the makers of engineered fast-growing salmon, have refused to tell the public where their product is being sold, their CEO recently bragged to investors that it is being used in the Canadian buyer’s “high-end sashimi lines, not their frozen prepared foods.” Consumers must continue to be wary of the origin of their food: know your farmer!

Maker of GMO salmon says it sold 4.5 tonnes in Canada this year but won’t say to whom
by Michael Drapack

AquaBounty CEO tells investors Canadian buyer is using engineered salmon for ‘high-end sashimi line’

Source: Maya Puspita

Prepared sashimi products are where you’re likely to find genetically modified salmon in Canada, the CEO of AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company that produces the fish, told investors Thursday.

Ron Stotish wouldn’t say exactly who is buying the company’s product but did tell a group of investors meeting in New York that it has sold 4.5 tonnes of it in Canada so far this year.

This is on top of the roughly nine tonnes that were sold last year.​

There is no requirement in Canada for the fish to be labelled as genetically engineered, so unless the company does it voluntarily there is no way for customers to tell the difference between non-GMO salmon and AquaBounty’s product. Read Full Article »

Biopesticides Show Promise for Modern Agriculture

September 13th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Medical cannabis use has brought more attention to the issue of pesticide residues. People with compromised health want to ensure they are not subjected to toxic residues on the plant, and some companies have stepped in to offer effective pesticides in the form of living microorganisms and natural chemicals. These biopesticides are often cheaper and may work better than synthetic pesticides like glyphosate. We will continue to monitor the evolution of these products.

Cannabis Is Creating A Boom For Biological Pesticides
by Janet Burns

Source: Teddy Llovet, Flickr

As legal cannabis farms take the spotlight, safer methods of pest control are also taking root in more ‘mainstream’ agriculture.

With more states enacting medicinal and adult recreational cannabis laws each year, health officials have increasingly warned about the potential hazards of products made from crops treated with certain chemicals. In particular, chemical pesticides have been identified as a threat to cannabis consumers’ health, with potential risks that can vary depending on whether products are eaten, smoked, vaped, or topically applied.

As such, cannabis has joined a broader conversation about the dangers of spraying the crops we grow. Just this month, health officials noted that current widely used pesticides can show up in popular food products at arguably unsafe levels, and are likely tied to the ongoing drop in environmentally critical bee populations. Read Full Article »

E. Coli on Romaine Lettuce Came from Neighboring Feedlot

September 12th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: In March of 2018, people began to fall ill from E. coli, but the FDA struggled to find the field responsible. It appeared to come from multiple fields of romaine lettuce and none of their existing models could explain the contamination. Research published in 2015 had foreseen the culprit: massive cattle feedlots. When the land is dry, the concentration of cattle in a small area make the dust, along with whatever is in that dust, airborne. The same phenomenon can also potentially spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Grazing cattle on pasture does not pose the same risk.

What Sparked An E. Coli Outbreak In Lettuce? Scientists Trace A Surprising Source
NPR – The Salt
by Dan Charles

Source: Peter Thoeny

The illnesses started appearing in late March. Here and there, across the country, people were checking themselves in to hospitals, sick from toxic E. coli bacteria. At least 200 people got sick. Five of them died.

Investigators quickly identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak, but have had trouble pinpointing the cause for months. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has a theory for how E. coli ended up on that lettuce. According to the FDA, it probably came from a large cattle feedlot at one end of a valley near Yuma, Ariz., which is one of the country’s biggest lettuce-growing areas.

The finding has put lettuce growers in Yuma in a tough spot. The feedlot has been their neighbor for many years. Some vegetable farmers are wondering whether they can still co-exist with all those cattle nearby. Read Full Article »

Unseemly Emails Between Lobbyists and USDA Staffers

September 11th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The story below does not describe any illegal behavior, but it clearly demonstrates the industry-friendly conditions at the USDA. Emails brought to the light of day via a Freedom of Information request show working relationships among industry players and USDA staffers, many of whom were industry lobbyists prior to working for the government.

Emails show the swamp stretches to the Agriculture Department
by Rene Marsh

USDA Secretary Perdue
Source: USDA

From suggestions for members of a science committee to emails sent “on the sly” and thoughts for the secretary’s speeches, new internal emails from the US Department of Agriculture show big food industry lobbyists are working hand-in-glove with agency staffers.

The newly released emails were obtained by the nonpartisan independent Project on Government Oversight via a Freedom of Information Act request and shared exclusively with CNN. Though exposing no apparent legal violation, they offer a window into how some top USDA political appointees — former lobbyists themselves — are in frequent contact with their old employers and others who are lobbying the agency, and how those lobbyists are seeking to influence the agency on issues large and small.

The USDA, under the Trump administration, has moved to roll back a series of regulations opposed by industry, to the chagrin of health and food safety advocates. The emails show how the agency is very willing to work with industry lobbyists, even accepting and using talking points for one of Secretary Sonny Perdue’s speeches. Read Full Article »

CFS on GE Labeling: “Our hope that the Court can get Trump’s USDA on a timeline”

September 10th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Congress passed the controversial and weak labeling law for foods with genetically modified organisms in 2016.  They set a deadline of July 19, 2018 for USDA to issue labeling rules. The date has come and gone, and the Center for Food Safety has filed a legal complaint in hopes of bringing the agency into compliance.

Center for Food Safety Calls for Court Decision on GE Labeling Delay
Center for Food Safety

Source: Osseous

Consumer Group Seeks Court Ruling in Response to USDA’s Failure to Issue GE Food Disclosure Rules

San Francisco, CA. Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a motion for summary judgment on its federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for failing to issue the genetically engineered (GE) food disclosure law by the mandatory deadline of July 19, 2018. Congress gave USDA two years after the 2016 GE labeling law was passed to draft and issue new labeling rules, but USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue missed the deadline.

“The American people have waited more than two years for USDA to issue mandatory GE labeling rules,” said George Kimbrell, CFS legal director. “It’s unfortunate that we have to take it to court to force USDA to do its job and give consumers the labeling rules they voted for, but it seems that’s the only method the Trump administration’s USDA will respond to. It’s our hope that the Court can get Trump’s USDA on a timeline it will actually follow with enforced deadlines.” Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
Ph: 608-625-2000