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.

Eat Your Organic Spinach (But Avoid Conventional)

November 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The USDA recently retested conventional spinach for pesticides, having last tested it in 2008. In the last decade there has been a sharp increase in pesticide residue on the crop. USDA samples show more pesticides by weight on spinach than any other crop, including up to 16 pesticides and metabolites of pesticides found on each sample. Permethrin, linked to ADHD in children, was among the most alarming residue found—and on 75% of the samples. Spinach also appears to be particularly “good” at taking up DDT residue left in the soil, a pesticide banned in the 70s. DDT residue was found on half of the spinach samples.

EU-Banned Pesticide Found on Spinach, Now Second on Dirty Dozen™

Source: Laurel F

Spinach is packed with nutrients, a staple for healthy eating during the winter and spring. But new federal data shows that conventionally grown spinach has more pesticide residues by weight than all other produce tested, with three-fourths of samples tested contaminated with a neurotoxic bug killer that is banned from use on food crops in Europe.

The latest tests by the Department of Agriculture showed a sharp increase in pesticide residues on non-organic spinach since the crop was last tested eight years ago. Based on the USDA tests, EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ now ranks spinach second on the Dirty Dozen™ list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides – a significant jump from last year, when it ranked eighth. Read Full Article »

UK Supports Ban on Neonicotinoids

November 10th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The European Union is preparing to vote on a neonicotinoid pesticide ban, likely in December. As more research shows the enormous harm to bees and other pollinators from neonicotinoids, government officials are becoming concerned. The United Kingdom had originally opposed the ban but now have reversed their position. This class of pollinator harming pesticides is not allowed in organic agriculture.

UK will back total ban on bee-harming pesticides, Michael Gove reveals
The Guardian
by Damian Carrington

Source: Chafer Machinery

Exclusive: Research leads environment secretary to overturn government’s previous opposition, making total EU ban much more likely

The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed.

The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.

Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticide but in 2013 the European Union banned their use on flowering crops, although the UK was among the nations opposing the ban. The European commission now wants a total ban on their use outside of greenhouses, with a vote expected in December, and the UK’s new position makes it very likely to pass. Read Full Article »

Monsanto’s Glyphosate License Not Renewed in the EU

November 10th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The European Union decided not to renew the license for glyphosate use, the flagship Monsanto pesticide that is also suspected of being a carcinogen. The license will expire at the end of this year, and Monsanto’s supporters have until then to reverse this decision. We will continue to share news on this story as it comes out.

EU fails to renew licence for controversial glyphosate weedkiller
TRT World

Source: Avaaz

The European Commission said it fell short of the majority needed to renew the license that will expire on December 15.

The European Union on Thursday failed to win approval from members to renew a five-year licence for the controversial weedkiller glyphosate, which critics say causes cancer.

The European Commission said it fell short of the majority needed to renew the license that is set to expire on December 15. Only half of the 28 member states have voted for its proposal.

“Given that a qualified majority could not be reached … the result of the vote is ‘no opinion,'” said the commission and the EU executive.

The commission said it will now submit its proposal to an appeals committee by the end of November. Read Full Article »

Find the GMO Apples!

November 9th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Our colleagues at the Organic Consumers Association are looking for help in finding the GMO apples released into Midwest grocery stores. The apples have been genetically modified not to brown. The anti-browning gene adds nothing nutritionally. Rather it is a marketer’s dream, allowing a long shelf life for apples you wouldn’t eat if you saw the browning. Consumers have the right to know. Let’s find out where they are.

GMO Apples Hit Store Shelves This Week—but Where?
Organic Consumers Association

Source: 123RF Stock Photos

This month, up to 400 Midwest grocery stores started quietly testing packages of sliced “Arctic Apple” GMO apples.

Intrexon, the company marketing the apples, won’t tell us which stores are selling them.

The company also won’t label its apples “GMO” because, according to Intrexon’s CEO: “We didn’t want to put ‘GMO’ and a skull and crossbones on the package.”

TAKE ACTION: Help us find the GMO apples! Join the scavenger hunt, November 7 – December 1, to locate the stores selling GMO apples. Sign up here and we’ll send you instructions, talking points, etc.

Don’t live in the Midwest? Please forward this to friends and family who do! Read Full Article »

Black Farmers Seek Justice from Trump

November 9th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The federal government paid out over $1 billion to settle a class-action suit based on discriminatory USDA policies in the 80s and 90s. Congress appropriated funds for a second phase of settlements, but a USDA-hired administrator allegedly improperly denied plaintiffs’ claims. The Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association is now asking President Trump to uphold a recent court finding and pay the farmers and heirs of farmers their long-awaited due.

Black farmers call on Trump to accept ruling in suit against USDA
Commercial Appeal
by Tom Charlier, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

Source: Kirstie Warner

A Memphis-based organization representing black farmers called on President Trump Monday to accept a court ruling that could lead to payouts totaling more than $1 billion to growers who claim they were denied crop loans and other assistance based on race.

More than 100 farmers and heirs of farmers crowded into the Downtown offices of the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association to hear that their case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture survived a recent court challenge.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week issued an order denying the USDA’s motion for a summary ruling that essentially would have thrown out the claims of some 15,000 black farmers and their heirs.

“This is a monumental decision,” BFAA President Thomas Burrell said. “It vindicates our movement, it vindicates our organization.” Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
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Ph: 608-625-2000