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.

Proposed GMO Labeling Law Would Not Label Most GMOs

July 27th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The proposed GMO labeling law set to take effect in 2019 exempts products containing GMO sugars and oils or less than 5% GMO ingredients total. A recent Environmental Working Group analysis suggests that this would exempt the majority of products currently on the market containing GMO ingredients. Read the article below for more problems with the proposed legislation.

EWG Analysis: Loophole Could Exempt Over 10,000 GMO Foods from Disclosure Law
EWG Ag Mag
by Colin O’Neil, Legislative Director and Sean Perrone-Gray, Director of Consumer Database Architecture

Source: Anthony Albright

Loopholes proposed by the Trump administration could exempt over 10,000 – or one out of six – genetically modified foods from a new GMO disclosure law, according to an EWG analysis.

The draft rule may exempt foods produced with GMOs if the food products contain highly refined GMO sugars and oils.

There is a high rate of adoption for many GMO crops like corn, soybeans, canola and sugar beets, meaning that ingredients derived from these crops have a high likelihood of being GMO. Based on an analysis of ingredient-level information for more than 105,000 food products in our Food Scores database, EWG estimated that roughly 67,111 food products contain at least one of these ingredients, which are likely produced with genetic engineering. Read Full Article »

Gene Editing to be Regulated like Other Biotech Seeds and Food in European Union

July 26th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Controversy continues to rage in the U.S. about whether foods and seeds created with new genetic engineering techniques, like gene editing, should be classified and regulated as GMOs. The European Union has settled the matter, to the chagrin of biotech companies. Cornucopia hails the European Court decision as a victory for common sense.

European Court rules new genetically engineered seeds and foods should be classified and regulated as GMOs
Friends of the Earth

Source: NIH Image Gallery

Friends of the Earth U.S. applauds ruling affirming gene editing, other new genetic engineering techniques subject to safety assessment, traceability, labeling

The European Court of Justice made a precedent-setting decision today that all new types of genetic engineering techniques and applications to seeds and food need to be regulated as GMOs.

This decision, which was in response to a case filed by Friends of the Earth France, affirms that new genetic engineering techniques like gene editing should be classified under the EU legal definition of GMOs. It also affirms that new genetic engineering techniques must be subject to the same EU safety laws that cover most existing GMOs, to check for their impacts on human health and the environment which include safety assessments, traceability and GMO labeling. Read Full Article »

Unregulated Gene Editing Technique Causes Unintended Gene Mutations

July 26th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: CRISPR gene editing is an inexpensive technology now available to anyone with the equipment. It is billed by biotech companies as a very exact process, and U.S. regulatory bodies have so far chosen not to include organisms modified using CRISPR in GMO regulation and labeling. The study below actually found significant unpredictability in gene modifications made using CRISPR, including many that are likely to go unnoticed in existing DNA tests.  CRISPR needs more careful regulation and transparency for consumers.

BREAKING: CRISPR Could Be Causing Extensive Mutations And Genetic Damage After All
Science Alert
by Peter Dockrill

Source: Ryan Lash / TED

“It became clear that something unexpected was happening.”

CRISPR has been heralded as one of the most important breakthroughs in modern science, but there could be a hidden and potentially dangerous side effect to the wonders of its genetic editing technology, a new study reveals.

A systematic investigation of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in mouse and human cells has discovered that the technique appears to frequently cause extensive mutations and genetic damage that the researchers say wouldn’t be detected by existing DNA tests.

“This is the first systematic assessment of unexpected events resulting from CRISPR/Cas9 editing in therapeutically relevant cells,” explains geneticist Allan Bradley from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK.

“We found that changes in the DNA have been seriously underestimated before now.”

It’s not the first time scientists have raised alarm about the potential pitfalls of CRISPR. Read Full Article »

Plant Science Expert Disappointed by Industry Response to Continuing Dicamba Damage

July 25th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The new and “less volatile” version of dicamba being sprayed on dicamba-resistant crops continues to drift onto neighboring fields, trees, and gardens. Controversy surrounding the extent of the damage rages on, and the University of Missouri professor who has been tracking the trouble has posted an update, including his personal disappointment that individual opinions seem “closely linked to the company you work for or the type of seed you buy.”

July 15 Dicamba injury update. Different Year, same questions
Integrated Pest Management – University of Missouri
by Kevin Bradley

As explained in previous articles from this season (Dicamba Injury Mostly Confined to Specialty Crops, Ornamentals and Trees so Far, Dicamba Injured Crops and Plants Becoming more Evident: June 15th Update), I have attempted to provide updates as to the extent of dicamba injury throughout the United States, either in the form of official dicamba-related cases that are currently under investigation by the state Departments of Agriculture, or as estimates of dicamba-injured soybean acreage from university weed scientists. Herein, I provide the maps below as an update of the situation as of July 15th.

Because there seems to be great confusion and/or controversy over the maps, I just want to explain once again what these maps contain. First, university weed scientists estimate to what extent they are seeing dicamba injury in their respective states. It is an estimate. My colleagues use extension agents and other trusted sources throughout their state to generate these estimates just like I do in my own state. Hopefully everyone on all sides of this issue can appreciate that much more happens than what actually gets turned into the state Departments of Agriculture; that is the reason for the map of estimates.

Read Full Article »

IARC Remains the Only International Body to Deem Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen

July 24th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Despite heavy pressure from industry, regulatory bodies, and food safety agencies, Christopher Portier, a carcinogenicity expert with over 30 years of research experience, continues to decry the use of chemical industry research to declare the safety of glyphosate. His insistence has put him, and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), at odds with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Portier contends that world food safety agencies should carry out independent scientific studies on the controversial pesticide, rather than basing their conclusions on glyphosate manufacturers’ findings. Glyphosate – the key ingredient in Round-up – is not allowed in organic agriculture.

The man who haunts Europe’s food safety watchdog
by Simon Marks

Christopher Portier is on a mission to have the world believe that glyphosate is a ‘probable’ carcinogen.

Source: Chafer Machinery

Lingering doubts in Europe over whether glyphosate, the world’s most ubiquitous herbicide, causes cancer in humans are in no small part due to the efforts of one man: Christopher Portier.

Since 2015, food safety agencies across the globe from the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. to the Australian Pesticides Authority have concluded that glyphosate — whose license for use in the EU was narrowly approved last year — does not cause cancer in humans.

There’s one exception: The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the one international body not to agree by classifying it as a “probable” carcinogen. Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
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Ph: 608-625-2000