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.

Controversial EU Decision on Glyphosate Under Challenge

December 7th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The approval by the European Union to give Monsanto a five-year authorization for continued use of its flagship pesticide glyphosate is meeting with resistance.  Organizations concerned with health and the impacts of dangerous chemicals used in agriculture are mounting a legal challenge to the decision.  Cornucopia is one of many organizations questioning the science colored by Monsanto that they present to regulators and decision makers.  Glyphosate and similar toxic agrichemicals are prohibited from use in organic agriculture.


Environmental Groups Plan to Sue EU Regulators over Glyphosate Decision
Beyond Pesticides

Source: Cousinforevercls

European health and environmental groups Global 2000 and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) have announced plans to sue European Union authorities over their assessment of the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup products produced by the chemical company Monsanto. The groups claim that the German regulatory authority, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) used material directly from Monsanto in their report over the safety of glyphosate without making clear that the data came from Monsanto itself.  “Both the BfR and the EFSA were in breach of the requirement obliging them to make an independent, objective and transparent assessment,” the groups said in a statement provided to Reuters. Read Full Article »

Conventional Calves?

December 6th, 2017

Loophole Exploited by Factory Organic Dairies

[This article was previously published in the fall issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Marie Burcham, JD
Farm and Food Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute

Source: Adobe Stock

All dairy cows must give birth before they begin lactating. The role played by these calves in a dairy’s operation reflects a farm’s dedication to organic ideals.

When a dairy cow “ages out,” or suffers irreversible health problems and is removed from milk production, she is replaced to maintain the same level of production.

Ethical dairies raise the calves they birth out as replacements for declining milk cows, a “closed-herd” method, keeping the animals within the organic system. Factory dairies will often purchase conventionally raised heifers and transition them to organic production.

Under the existing regulations, dairy farmers converting to organic farming are allowed a one-time transition of their existing herd to organic production. After that one-year process, all animals brought into a herd are supposed to be managed organically before birth, for at least the last third aof gestation.

However, some industrial-scale organic dairies, with the approval of their certifiers and the USDA, flout this rule by purchasing replacement heifers that were born and weaned using conventional methods. Read Full Article »

Mulch Your Soil, Inside and Out

December 4th, 2017

An Interview with David Montgomery and Anne Biklé

[This article was previously published in the fall issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Jennifer Hayden, Ph.D

Photo courtesy of
W.W. Norton and Company

What does soil health have to do with human health? A lot, it turns out. Healthy soil leads to a healthier environment, which improves health for everyone who lives near, or shares water with, farmland. And, healthy soil leads to healthier food, which improves health for those of us eating it!

But there’s more. When I recently sat down to talk with David Montgomery and Anne Biklé, authors of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, they described an unseen world thriving in healthy soil that parallels the profusion of life inside our bodies.

They’ve carefully studied how biodiversity in the soil and in our guts are related. Their book on the topic is well worth a read by anyone interested in exploring the interconnection between soil health and human health. Here are some excerpts from our wide-ranging conversation. Read Full Article »

Chemical Industry Attacks Science with Spies and Lies

December 1st, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The article below details Monsanto’s systematic campaign to discredit and potentially de-fund the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the agency tasked by the World Health Organization with identifying carcinogens. The information contained here underscores the need for individuals to educate themselves and to vote for politicians who are devoted to public health over campaign contributions.


The Monsanto Papers, Part 1 — Operation: Intoxication
Environmental Health News
by Stéphane Horel and Stéphane Foucart, Le Monde

Source: Global Justice Now

In order to save glyphosate, the Monsanto corporation has undertaken an effort to destroy the United Nations’ cancer agency by any means possible. Here is the part one of an investigation from Le Monde.

Editors Note: This month Le Monde won the Prix Varenne Presse quotidienne nationale (Varenne Award for the national daily press) for their Monsanto Papers series, an investigation on the worldwide war the Monsanto corporation has started in order to save glyphosate, originally published in June.

Below is part one, originally published June 1, 2017, translated by GM Watch and the Health and Environment Alliance.

“We have been attacked in the past, we have faced smear campaigns, but this time we are the target of an orchestrated campaign of an unseen scale and duration.” Christopher Wild’s smile quickly faded. Through the window of the high rise where the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is headquartered, the rooftops of Lyon, France, spread out behind his tall figure. Read Full Article »

Glyphosate Use Allowed in EU for Five More Years

November 30th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Agrichemicals are typically authorized for 15 years at a time in the European Union, but, due to serious concerns about the safety of glyphosate and the allegedly inappropriate involvement of pesticide manufacturers in its scientific review, glyphosate has only been approved for five years. Chemical companies are claiming politics carried the day, while environmentalists bemoan the government’s decision to reauthorize glyphosate at all. Glyphosate, Monsanto’s flagship product,  is not allowed in organic agriculture.


Glyphosate, Top-Selling Weed Killer, Wins E.U. Approval for 5 Years
The New York Times
by Danny Hakim

Source: Louise Joly

The European Union voted on Monday to extend its authorization for the world’s best-selling herbicide for an abbreviated period of five years, with France and Germany splitting over the move.

President Emmanuel Macron of France said after the decision was announced that he had asked government officials to draw up a plan for banning the herbicide, glyphosate, in his country within three years. He also posted a message on Twitter with the hashtag #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain. France led the opposition to allowing the use of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and in weed killers made by other companies. Read Full Article »

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