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.

Register Soon: Acres U.S.A. Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show December 4 – 7 in Kentucky

November 7th, 2018

Acres USA publishes one of the most authoritative magazines, and sponsors an annual conference, addressing the educational needs of ecologically sound agricultural practitioners. They present tools for both agronomic and economic success. Many of this year’s eminently qualified speakers are long-time Cornucopia members.


Acres U.S.A.

The goal for the Acres U.S.A. 2018 Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show is simple and clear ─ that this is the most useful conference on agriculture you’ve ever attended. This year, the event will be held December 4 through 7 in Louisville, Kentucky, and will feature speakers like Joel Salatin, Gabe Brown, Daniela Ibarra-Howell, Eliot Coleman, and more.

It is where you will find farmers and consultants from every facet of eco-farming who come together to share their experience and expertise. Attend the non-stop event, learn the latest in cutting-edge technology and methods, and return home ready to make your farming operation the best it can be.

Register soon, as prices will increase in December. Learn more at https://www.acresusa.com/pages/2018-eco-ag-conference-trade-show Read Full Article »

Judge in Landmark Roundup Cancer Case Reduced Awarded Damages and Denied Monsanto’s Appeal

November 7th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: After consideration, Judge Bolanos opted not to grant Monsanto a new trial regarding DeWayne Johnson’s allegations that their product, Roundup, caused his cancer. However, she lowered the amount of punitive damages awarded to Johnson. Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, is expected to file another appeal.


Monsanto trial: judge rejects bid to overturn landmark cancer verdict
The Guardian
by Sam Levin

Source: Allen Allen

Dewayne Johnson originally won $289m after finding Roundup weedkiller caused illness, but judge reduces financial award

California judge has rejected Monsanto’s appeal to overturn a landmark jury verdict which found that its popular herbicide causes cancer.

The judge’s ruling on Monday largely sided with Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a father of three and former school groundskeeper, who won a $289m awardover the summer after alleging that his exposure to Roundup weedkiller gave him cancer. During the trial, the first of its kind, the 46-year-old also alleged that Monsanto had failed to warn him of the risks of using its product.

Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company, filed an appeal of the verdict, which said the company was responsible for “negligent failure”, knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”, and had “acted with malice or oppression”.

Monsanto fought to overturn the verdict, arguing the evidence was insufficient. The San Francisco superior court judge Suzanne Bolanos had suggested in an initial written ruling this month that she was considering granting a new trial. But she ultimately denied Monsanto’s request. However, she has ruled to reduce punitive damages from $250m to $39m. Read Full Article »

Unregulated GMOs Hiding in the Food Supply

November 6th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The USDA has determined that no regulation is needed for food genetically engineered using new technologies like CRISPR. Even after the proposed GMO labeling law goes into effect, slated for 2019, companies using these new technologies are exempted from labeling their products as genetically modified (see Cornucopia’s GMO Voting Scorecard to learn how members of Congress voted on the labeling law). As consumers continue to express distrust of GMO food, it appears that testing for all gene editing is being refined.


New GMO technologies represent major challenges to non-GMO supply chain, certification
The Organic & Non-GMO Report
by Ken Roseboro

Subscribe to the The Organic & Non-GMO Report.

Source: NIH Image Gallery

New genetic engineering technologies such as CRISPR gene editing, RNA interference (RNAi), and synthetic biology are presenting major challenges to the non-GMO supply chain and certifiers, as some products developed using those technologies are entering the market claiming to be “non-transgenic” or even non-GMO.

Cibus used oligonucleotide mutagenesis (ODM), a gene editing process, to develop a canola variety that the company claims is non-transgenic. Conagen developed a “next-generation natural preservative” using synthetic biology and claims it is non-GMO. Calyxt developed a gene-edited high-oleic soybean that was grown this year, and the harvested crop will be processed at two non-GMO and organic processing facilities in Iowa, American Natural Processors and KemX Global. While Calyxt doesn’t claim that its soybean is non-GMO, the company issued a press release saying it had “received a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirming that the Company’s high-oleic soybean variety is non-regulated, as the product contains no foreign DNA.” A synthetic biology sweetener, EverSweet, developed by Cargill, was even certified non-GMO by NSF’s True North non-GMO program.

Read Full Article »

Rural Water Across America Poisoned by Agricultural Runoff

November 6th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Conventional and GMO crop farming and concentrated animal feeding operations create runoff of excess pesticides and fertilizers into watersheds and, ultimately, wells in rural America. The runoff contains nitrates from manure, bacteria from sick animals, and a host of toxic chemicals and antibiotics. Learn more about the crisis below. Sustainable farming practices prevent runoff and keep all of us healthy.


Rural America’s Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink
The New York Times
by Jack Healy

Hog CAFO and manure lagoon
Source: Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc.

The groundwater that once ran cool and clean from taps in this Midwestern farming town is now laced with contaminants and fear. People refuse to drink it. They won’t brush their teeth with it. They dread taking showers.

Rural communities call it their own, private Flint— a diffuse, creeping water crisis tied to industrial farms and slack regulations that for years has tainted thousands of residential wells across the Midwest and beyond.

Now, fears and frustration over water quality and contamination have become a potent election-year issue, burbling up in races from the fissured bedrock here in Wisconsin to chemical-tainted wells in New Hampshire to dwindling water reserves in Arizona. President Trump’s actions to loosen clean water rules have intensified a battle over regulations and environmental protections unfolding on the most intensely local level: in people’s own kitchen faucets. Read Full Article »

Experts Call for EPA Ban on Organophosphate Pesticides

November 5th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Organophosphate pesticides are the most commonly used insecticides in conventional agriculture and were initially developed as a nerve gas. Extremely effective, even very low exposure via residues on food may lead to lowered IQ and learning disabilities in children. A new paper in PLOS Medicine reviews the science available on risks to children from low-level prenatal exposures.  These types of pesticides are prohibited from use in organic agriculture.


New Scientific Paper: Broad Class of Pesticides Puts Children at Risk for Reduced IQ, Learning Disabilities
NRDC

Leading Scientists Call for EPA to Ban All Organophosphate Pesticides and Urge Comprehensive Steps to Protect Children

Source: USDA

[On October 24], leading toxics experts released a scientific paper in the journal PLOS Medicine warning of the dangers widely-used agricultural pesticides pose to children’s health and development. The authors found that exposure to organophosphate pesticides, even at low levels previously considered safe, can lead to cognitive problems in children, like reduced IQ, developmental delays and increased risk of learning disabilities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Trump is ignoring clear science behind the danger of such pesticides. EPA scientists and scientific advisors have reported strong evidence that supports a ban on the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos, leading a federal appeals court to rule in August that the EPA must ban chlorpyrifos, but the Trump Administration just announced last month that it will appeal the court’s ruling. Based on a review by its own scientists, the EPA originally proposed to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016, which was subsequently reversed in 2017 under President Trump. The court’s decision to order the chlorpyrifos ban was due to “scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.” Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
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