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.

Poultry Processing Chemicals Make Workers Sick

August 1st, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The story below details the medical horrors visited on poultry plant workers subjected to dangerous antimicrobial sprays at work. The sprays include peracetic acid (PAA), which is used to kill bacteria, like salmonella and campylobacter, commonly found on birds raised in factory farm conditions across the U.S. Many undocumented immigrants work at poultry plants, and their legal status makes them unlikely to speak up about their unsafe working conditions. The USDA appears more concerned with protecting agribusiness interests than human health.

The Intercept
by Eyal Press

Jessica Robertson Got Sick Working as an Inspector at a Poultry Plant. Now She’s Speaking Out to Defend Workers Exposed to Chemicals.

Like many people in Sanpete County, Utah, a rural area roughly 100 miles south of Salt Lake City, Jessica Robertson likes to spend her Sundays in church. Unlike many of them, the house of worship she frequents is not a chapel filled with copies of the Book of Mormon, but the landscape surrounding her home, a windswept valley dotted with cedar and aspen groves that she regards as her sanctuary. Originally from Milwaukee, Robertson, who is 47, has lived here for 20 years, in a small house set behind a split-rail fence off a rutted dirt road. When tending to the horses on her property or hiking along one of the trails that twist through the valley, where elk and mule deer roam and bald eagles sometimes circle overhead, she feels at peace.

Lately, though, feeling at peace has been rare for Robertson, owing to the chronic health problems that have plagued her in recent years. In 2002, Robertson began working as a part-time poultry inspector at a turkey processing plant in Moroni, a 20-minute drive from her home. It was a good job in a place where steady employment was hard to come by, she thought at the time, even if it entailed checking the carcasses of turkeys rotating by at speeds that made spotting defects — and avoiding repetitive strain injuries — challenging. By 2008, Robertson had become a full-time consumer safety inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the years that followed, she also had three elbow surgeries and sustained a serious nerve injury in her neck.

After completing six months of physical therapy for the neck pain, Robertson figured her health problems were behind her. But in 2015, she started to experience some stranger symptoms — itchy eyes, shortness of breath, coughing fits. At work, she noticed, her voice would start to cut out by the middle of the week. By week’s end, she could hardly speak. She also started waking up at night with a bloody nose. Robertson wasn’t the only employee experiencing odd symptoms. Another USDA inspector, Tina McClellan, with whom Robertson was close friends, complained to her of headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems. Line workers at the plant confided to Robertson that they, too, were falling ill. Read Full Article »

GMO Impossible Burger Using Biotech Playbook to Misinform Consumers

August 1st, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The company responsible for the vegan meat alternative, Impossible Burger, never performed sufficient food safety studies to receive the FDA’s “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) status. When the FDA requested lengthier studies, Impossible Burger simply put its GMO yeast-containing product on the market without GRAS status. In response to criticism, Impossible Burger has attacked the credibility of its critics and called on industry experts known to defend the likes of Big Tobacco, pesticides, and other biotech products. What’s more, the Impossible Burger has found its way onto menus without being clearly recognized by restaurants as genetically modified.

Impossible Burger and the Road to Consumer Distrust
by Stacy Malkan

Impossible Burger ad:
No mention of GMOs
Source: Anokarina

For anyone who wonders why consumers aren’t inspired to trust the GMO industry, consider this bizarre statement from Impossible Foods Chief Communications Officer Rachel Konrad in defense of the Impossible Burger, a veggie burger made more meat-like via genetically engineered yeast.

Konrad was upset by a June 27 Bloomberg article Is it too early for fake meat? that raised concerns about insufficient research, regulation and labeling in the realm of new food technologies.

Konrad took to Medium, blasting critics of the Impossible Burger as “anti-science fundamentalists” and “setting the record straight” with information she sourced from chemical industry front groups and other unreliable anti-consumer messengers who regularly communicate inaccurate information about science. Read Full Article »

Monsanto Denies and Deflects, In and Out of Courtroom

July 31st, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Monsanto is presently in court, fighting the first case of about 5,000 currently pending against the chemical company for cancers allegedly caused by their products containing glyphosate. Dr. Mercola posted this summary of the situation.

This Evil Corporation Bullies Scientists to Cover Up Toxicity
by Dr. Mercola

Source: NRCS, Tim McCabe

Thousands of people across the U.S. have now filed lawsuits alleging that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, caused them to develop cancer. A cluster of more than 400 lawsuits from farmers, landscapers and others claiming Roundup caused Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cell cancer, were consolidated before a federal judge, and Monsanto tried to get the cases dismissed.

The judge, however, recently ruled they will be allowed to proceed,1 and the first case — that of DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who alleges Roundup caused his terminal cancer — is already in court. Monsanto has continued to maintain that Roundup doesn’t cause cancer and is one of the safest herbicides on the planet, even as evidence stacks up against them.

In the first landmark trial, attorneys even alleged that Monsanto (which was taken over by Bayer in June 2018) has resorted to bullying independent researchers and rejected critical warnings about their toxic products. Read Full Article »

Monsanto Safety Data Under Fire in Court

July 31st, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: A man who was twice drenched in Roundup during the course of applying it in schoolyards, DeWayne Johnson, is suing Monsanto for his non-Hodgkin lymphoma that he alleges is due to exposure to the poisonous chemical. Charles Benbrook, an expert on glyphosate toxicity, testified last week that the studies which led to the approval of Roundup were not valid. A toxicologist also testified that Monsanto’s Roundup can cause cancer. Monsanto’s lawyers have focused on discrediting expert testimony. Cornucopia will continue to monitor this story as it unfolds.

Monsanto Accused of Fraudulent Data in Roundup Cancer Trial
Courthouse News Service
by Helen Christophi

Source: Mike Mozart

Attorneys for a school groundskeeper suing Monsanto over his terminal lymphoma suggested to a California jury Friday that the agrichemical company submitted fraudulent cancer data to U.S. regulators so it could sell its Roundup weed killer, against court orders barring testimony on the topic.

The study to which Baum Headland Aristei Goldman attorney Brent Wisner had referred was done in the mid-1970s by Industrial Bio-Test (IBT) Laboratories. Monsanto hired the now-defunct lab to conduct toxicology studies on Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate, which are required for the approval of herbicides by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Roundup was initially approved for sale in 1974 based in part on the IBT data. But the data was later found to contain discrepancies invalidating IBT’s conclusions that glyphosate was safe.

A subsequent review by the EPA found that IBT routinely falsified data, and three of its executives were convicted of fraud, according to plaintiff DeWayne Johnson’s complaint. Read Full Article »

Legumes and Potatoes are Not Sufficient Nutrition for Dogs

July 30th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The FDA has alerted dog owners that a diet low in meat is more susceptible to canine DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy), a disease of the heart muscle. Cornucopia’s Pet Food Report and Buyer’s Guide can help you better understand product labels and make healthier choices for your dogs and cats.

FDA warns of possible link between food, canine heart disease
Food Safety News
by Phyllis Entis

Source: Dana

Pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients may be linked to cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, according to an alert to pet owners this week from the Food and Drug Administration.

Certain large and giant breed dogs, including great danes, boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish wolfhounds, saint bernards and doberman pinschers, are thought to have a genetic predisposition to DCM. Atypically, cases of DCM reported to FDA have been of mixed breeds and of smaller breeds that were not thought to be predisposed to this condition, including: golden and Labrador retrievers, whippets, a Shih Tzu, a bulldog and miniature schnauzers.

Canine DCM is a disease of the heart muscle, resulting in an enlarged heart, which can lead to congestive heart failure if not treated successfully. Dogs suffering from DCM may show symptoms of heart disease, such as decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse. Read Full Article »

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