Animal Welfare Standards Delayed by yaofenjin


									                                                                                          PROMOTING ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR FAMILY-SCALE FARMING

                                                                                                                                                                                                  News from The Cornucopia Institute
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Summer 2011

                                                                                          Animal Welfare Standards Delayed
                                                                                          National Organic Standards Board Postpones Action

                                                                                                                                                                                                               This laying hen is free to pasture when it is
                                                                                                                                                                                                               not secure in its coop for the night (or being
                                                                                                                                                                                                               held by the farmer).
                                                                                          Tens of thousands of birds are confined in this certified organic aviary in Sauk County, Wisconsin. Space per
                                                                                          bird and outdoor access for laying hens were among the topics debated at the NOSB meeting.

                                                                                                   ction aimed at strengthening and                by Board questions and public comments at
                                                                                                   clarifying animal welfare standards             the meeting and from email correspondence
                                                                                                   for organically managed livestock               sent to the NOSB.                                      INSIDE THIS ISSUE
                                                                                          was deferred until the fall meeting of the                  The animal welfare issue has been
                                                                                          National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).                 under debate at the NOSB for several years              2   Farmers fight Monsanto
                                                                                          Proposals brought before the Board by its                as members of the Board and the public                  3   Pasture rule upholds “grass fed”
                                                                                          Livestock Committee at the April NOSB                    push for establishing organics as the gold              4   “Organic” signage misleads
                                                                                                                                                                                                           7   Horizon Milk uses illegal additive
                                                                                          meeting in Seattle were withdrawn when the               standard in animal welfare. While the
                                                                                                                                                                                                           8   Almond farmers score victory
                                                                                          committee was unable to approve additional               controversy swirling around pasturing and              11   Ag dynamos elected to Board
                                                                                          changes and modifications partially spurred              grazing of dairy cows and other ruminant
                                                                                                                                                   ANIMAL WELFARE continued on page 5

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    Farmers and Seed Producers Launch Preemptive Strike Against Monsanto
    Lawsuit Would Prohibit Biotech Behemoth from Suing Growers for Inadvertent Contamination

               n March 30, the Public Patent                                                                                      cotton, sugar beets, and alfalfa face a similar

                                                  PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
               Foundation (PUBPAT) filed a                                                                                        fate from Monsanto’s sale of genetically
               lawsuit challenging Monsanto’s                                                                                     modified seed for these crops as well. 
    patents on genetically modified seed. The                                                                                         PUBPAT seeks a determination that
    Cornucopia Institute is among the 83 fam-                                                                                     if organic farmers are ever contaminated
    ily farmers, seed businesses, and organic                                                                                     by Monsanto’s GE seeds, they need not
    agricultural organizations represented                                                                                        fear being accused of patent infringement.
    by PUBPAT in the lawsuit. The plaintiff                                                                                       Ravicher argues that Monsanto’s patents
    organizations have over 270,000 members,                                                                                      on genetically modified seed are invalid
    including thousands of certified organic                                                                                      because they don’t meet the “usefulness”
    family farmers.                                                          Organic soybean is one of the crops at risk for GE   requirement of patent law. 
        “This case asks whether Monsanto has                                 contamination.                                           “Family-scale farmers desperately need
    the right to sue organic farmers for patent                    accusations before and is notorious for                        the judiciary branch of our government to
    infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed                     having sued hundreds of farmers for patent                     balance the power Monsanto wields in the
    or pollen should land on their property,”                      infringement, so we had to act to protect the                  marketplace and through their legislative
    said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive                          interests of our clients.”                                     lobbyists,” notes Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel.
    Director. “It seems quite perverse that an                         After Monsanto introduced genetically                      “Farmers have saved seeds since the begin-
    organic farmer contaminated by trans-                          modified seed for canola, organic canola be-                   ning of agriculture. It is outrageous that one
    genic seed could be accused of patent                          came virtually impossible to grow as a result                  corporate entity, through the trespass of
    infringement, but Monsanto has made such                       of contamination. Organic corn, soybeans,                      continued on page 12

    BOARD OF DIRECTORS              Kevin Engelbert                                              Tom Willey                       STAFF
                                    Organic Dairy Producer                                       Organic Vegetable Grower
    Steve Sprinkel, President       Former NOSB Member                                           Madera, CA                       Mark Kastel, Codirector & Director of the Organic
    Organic Vegetable Grower        Nichols, NY                                                                                   Integrity Project
    Ojai, CA                                                                                     Tony Azevedo                     Will Fantle, Codirector & Director of Research
                                    Dave Minar                                                   Organic Dairy Producer           Charlotte Vallaeys, Director of Farm & Food Policy
    Helen Kees, Vice President      Organic Livestock Producer                                   San Joaquin Valley, CA           Lynn Buske, Administrator & Research Associate
    Organic Livestock Producer      New Prague, MN                                                                                Gayle Nielsen, Membership Coordinator
    Durand, WI                                                                                   Francis Thicke, PhD              Elizabeth Wolf, Development Director
                                    Amanda Love                                                  Organic Dairy Producer           Celeste Gibson, Fiscal Manager
    William Heart, Secretary        Natural Foods Chef                                           Fairfield, IA                    Jim Munsch, GE Alfalfa Lawsuit Representative
    Wildlife Conservationist        Nutrition Educator
    Ashland, WI                     Austin, TX                                                   Michael James                    THE CULTIVATOR
                                                                                                 Community Organizer
    Roger Featherstone, Treasurer                                                                Organic Restaurateur             Elizabeth Wolf, Editor
    Environmental Field             POLICY ADVISORY PANEL                                        Chicago, IL                      Special thanks to Nancy Zucker, Kat Schleuter,
    Organizer                                                                                                                     Aaron Hraba, and BJ Birkel
    Tucson, AZ                      Merrell Clark                                                Judith McGeary, JD
                                    Organic Livestock Producer                                   Attorney                         CONTACT US
    Goldie Caughlan                 Former NOSB Member                                           Sustainable Farmer
    PCC Natural Markets             Cassopolis, MI                                               Farm and Ranch Activist          P.O. Box 126
    Cooperative Retail Educator                                                                  Austin, TX                       Cornucopia, WI 54827
    Former NOSB Member                                                                                                            (608) 625-2042,
    Seattle, WA                                                                                                         


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     New USDA Rule on Beef & Lamb Maintains Organic Integrity
     Ruminants Must Have Access to Pasture During Grazing Season

               he USDA’s long-awaited “pas-

                                                                                                                                                           PHOTO BY THE CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE
               ture rule,” published in February
               2010, requires that all organically
     raised ruminants obtain at least one-third
     of their feed from pasture. The final rule,
     however, contained an exemption for beef
     cattle. While stating that beef cattle must be
     “maintained on pasture” during the grazing
     season, the animals are exempt from obtain-
     ing any of their feed from pasture for four
     months before slaughter, or one-fifth of their
     lives (whichever is shorter).
          Officials at the National Organic
     Program (NOP) requested public comment
     regarding this exemption. To gain a clearer
     understanding of organic beef production
     practices, Cornucopia researchers surveyed
     organic beef producers around the country.        A cow grazes contentedly at Arnold Farm in Truxton, New York. Cornucopia found that 83% of surveyed
     We found that 83% of surveyed beef produc-        organic beef producers raise their animals primarily or exclusively on pasture until slaughter.
     ers raise their animals exclusively or primar-
     ily on pasture until slaughter, and did not
                                                           Confining beef cattle to feedlots, where      copia had proposed, which would inform
     need an exemption from pasture grazing for
                                                      they are “fattened” on a diet consisting           consumers whether the animals were
     their animals. The remaining 17% of organic
                                                      mostly of grain, speeds up the animal’s            finished on grass, grain, or a combination.
     beef producers, which include many who
                                                      growth—thereby reducing the time needed            Despite overwhelming public support for
     operate family-scale farms, do finish their
                                                      to reach market weight. The practice of            this proposal, the USDA stated that it would
     cattle on high-grain rations and needed an
                                                      “fattening” on grain also changes the taste        not be “practical” to develop a new label-
     exemption to stay in business. Many of these
                                                      and quality of the meat to make it similar to      ing scheme. Instead, producers wishing to
     producers, however, felt that the exemption
                                                      conventional, corn-fed meat that American          acquire a “grass-fed” label from the USDA’s
     as written was not adequate—they requested
                                                      consumers know so well.                            Agricultural Marketing Service may do so
     that the provision to maintain the animals
                                                          The USDA announced on May 10 that              on their own, the NOP stated.
     on pasture be entirely deleted, allowing full
                                                      the final rule will remain unchanged—beef              Producers need to be in full compliance
     confinement in feedlots.
                                                      cattle must be given access to pasture during      with the rule, including the provision on
          Grass-based organic farmers and ranch-
                                                      grazing season, but they are not required to       giving access to pasture for beef cattle, by
     ers, as well as many organic consumers, have
                                                      obtain any set minimum percentage of their         June 17, 2011. The USDA also clearly stated
     long been critical of producers who confine
                                                      feed from pasture.                                 that beef producers who do not give access
     ruminant animals to feedlots—a production
                                                          According to the USDA, the agency              to pasture during the finishing period have
     system that they contend does not match the
                                                      received approximately 500 individual              been, and will continue to be, in violation
     founding principles and the spirit of organ-
                                                      comments and 14,000 public form letters.           of the organic standards which have always
     ics, especially since ruminants, such as dairy
     cows and beef cattle, have evolved to graze
                                                      Many of these supported the transparent,           required access to pasture for ruminants.     ■
                                                      three-tiered labeling system that Cornu-                                     —Charlotte Vallaeys
     on pasture.


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                                       “Organic” Signage Misleads Consumers and Retailers
                                       Cornucopia Requests NOSB to Address Marketplace Misrepresentation

                                                                                           To prevent future problems with misla-       Mausser made sure the bulk bin labels in the

                                                                                       beling of conventional or “natural” food as      store were updated immediately, but noted
                                                                                       organic, and to protect consumers from false     that the nearly three-year time lag could
                                                                                       in-store signage, The Cornucopia Institute       have been prevented easily.
                                                                                       filed a formal request in March with the Na-         “The employees who unload the incom-
                                                                                       tional Organic Standards Board. The NOSB         ing boxes and fill up the bulk bins at 2
                                                                                       is the expert panel that advises the Secretary   o’clock in the morning cannot be expected
                                                                                       of Agriculture on organic rulemaking.            to inspect every box to make sure the or-
                                                                                           Cornucopia is requesting a rule change       ganic status hasn’t changed,” Mausser said.
                                                                                       to require food manufacturers to change          “It only seems reasonable that manufactur-
                                                                                       their barcode, the Universal Product Code        ers should let us know, and a change in the
                                                                                       (UPC), whenever there is a change in the         barcode or order number would help serve
                                                                                       product’s organic status and, additionally, to   as a heads-up that something about the
                                                                                       formally notify their customers.                 product is different.”
                                                                                           Unsolicited reports of the mislabeled            Since action by the National Organic
                                       Conventional Golden Temple granola mislabeled
                                       as organic                                      bulk bins triggered Cornucopia’s investi-        Standards Board and a rule change could

                                                                                       gation. When Cornucopia staff members            potentially take years, Cornucopia took ad-
                                                 n investigation by The Cornuco-
                                                                                       visited stores in the Midwest and the East       ditional action to ensure that consumers are
                                                 pia Institute found that stores in
                                                                                       Coast, they also found numerous instances        protected from mislabeled bulk granola. A
                                                 several states carried “organic”
                                                                                       of Peace Cereal mislabeled as “organic.”         follow-up investigation by Cornucopia staff
                                       signs on shelves of non-organic breakfast ce-
                                                                                       The cereal has been conventional for the         and volunteers revealed that more than a
                                       real, and bulk bins containing non-organic
                                                                                       past three years. Non-organic Peace Cereal       dozen retailers continue to mislabel, even af-
                                       granola but display “organic” bin labels.
                                                                                       was identified as “organic” even in certified    ter receiving the press release and individual
                                           One specific company, Golden Temple,
                                                                                       organic retail stores. And Cornucopia found      letters from Cornucopia.
                                       was responsible for widespread, national
                                                                                       the product listed as organic in at least one        At this point, Cornucopia filed a formal
                                       labeling problems, Cornucopia’s research
                                                                                       West Coast distributor’s catalog.                legal complaint with the National Organic
                                       found. The company manufactures bulk gra-
                                                                                           “Our investigation revealed that the vast    Program, identifying the retailers and sup-
                                       nola under their trade name and packaged
                                                                                       majority of retailers were horrified when        plying the USDA with photographic evi-
                                       products under the Peace Cereal brand.
                                                                                       they learned that they had mislabeled these      dence of the labeling violations. Cornucopia
                                           Similar problems with mislabeled “or-
                                                                                       products in their stores and unknowingly         is requesting a thorough investigation and
                                       ganic” signage and advertisements of con-
                                                                                       misled their customers,” stated Charlotte        immediate enforcement action against those
                                       ventional Silk soymilk had previously been
                                                                                       Vallaeys, Cornucopia’s Director of Farm and      retailers.
                                       traced to the same cause: the manufacturers
                                                                                       Food Policy. “It became clear to us that the         “These retailers certainly cannot claim
                                       changed their products’ ingredients from or-
                                                                                       problem lies not with the retailers, but with    that they were unaware of the problem, as
                                       ganic to conventional without changing the
                                                                                       the food manufacturers who fail to change        it appears they are now intentionally not
                                       product’s important and defining barcode.
                                                                                       their product’s barcode,” Vallaeys added.        taking corrective action in order to mislead
                                       Thus, many retailers were unaware of the
                                                                                           Three Rivers Co-op in Fort Wayne, Indi-      their customers,” said Vallaeys. “This kind
                                       change from organic to conventional and
                                                                                       ana, for example, found out about Golden         of profiteering from the good name of the
                                       continued to label these products as before.
                                                                                       Temple’s ingredient change from a represen-      organic label, without being organic, has to
                                       Silk is manufactured and distributed by the
                                       WhiteWave division of the dairy giant Dean
                                                                                       tative of another company, reported man-         stop.”■
                                                                                       agement staff member Rosemary Mausser.                                             —Will Fantle


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    Animal Welfare

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     continued from page 1

     livestock was finally resolved with a strong
     new rule issued by the USDA’s National
     Organic Program last year, many other
     animal welfare concerns remain.
         Most recently, controversy erupted
     over the regulatory requirement for
     outdoor access for laying hens and other
     poultry. Cornucopia’s latest report, Scram-
     bled Eggs, investigated abuses occurring at
     giant organic industrial-scale egg laying
     operations where tens of thousands of
     birds are mostly confined inside buildings.
     These operations stand in stark contrast       Cornucopia is also on record supporting       being outdoors makes the birds healthy
     to many family-scale farms, profiled in        a phase-in period of up to three years for    and happier. Many audience members
     Cornucopia’s report, that are producing        this requirement should farmers need to       responded with applause.
     eggs with their birds seasonally outdoors      transition more land around their hen-            Another Livestock Committee pro-
     as most organic consumers expect.              houses to organic.                            posal dealt with space requirements for
         The Livestock Committee’s ill-fated            Several family-scale egg producers        organic growing pigs. But their proposal
     proposal called for an outdoor space           spoke at the NOSB meeting, making clear       would not even allow a growing pig to
     requirement of two square feet per bird        that the requirement for outdoor access       turn around in its bedded space or have
     for layers, and one square foot per bird for   truly means hens can be outdoors. Tony        access to the outdoors! In its testimony,
     broilers. Cornucopia, in its formal com-       Dryak, from Wisconsin and a farmer for        Cornucopia compared this plan to five
     ments, called this “woefully inadequate.”      37 years, called the poultry proposal a       other animal welfare standards used for
         The proposal represented a rollback        “work in progress.” He said the standards     growing pigs. The Livestock Committee’s
     from 2009 when the Livestock Committee         for poultry until now have been “wholly       proposal ranked dead last, even behind
     then suggested three square feet per bird      inadequate.” Ann Schwartz, a Washington       the National Pork Board’s standard, the
     of outdoor space for both layers and broil-    state farmer and member of Tilth Produc-      one used by industrial-scale conventional
     ers. Extensive lobbying from giant opera-      ers, said their nearly 600 organic farmers    producers.
     tors, including the United Egg Producers,      “strongly support increased outdoor space         In framing the animal welfare debate
     helped weaken that plan. The Livestock         requirements for poultry, hogs, and all       the NOSB’s Livestock Committee wrote:
     Committee’s current proposal falls short       ruminant classes of livestock.”               “Ultimately, [we] would like the organic
     of the requirement of five square feet per         Representatives from large industrial-    seal to be the gold standard, indicating
     bird that the nation’s largest name-brand      scale operations, including Country Hen,      the most nutritious food produced in the
     producer, Organic Valley, expects of its       Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, and Sunrise         safest and most humane manner.”
     certified egg producers. European organic      Farm, were present at the NOSB meeting.           “The animal welfare proposal we saw
     standards are even more spacious, requir-      They continued to speak against outdoor       at this meeting was clearly not ready for
     ing 43 square feet per bird outside.           access requirements.                          prime time,” observed Cornucopia’s Mark
         “If commercial-scale producers at              Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets         Kastel. “Organic farmers and consum-
     Organic Valley, with 1,500 to 15,000 hens,     brought a strong contingent of consumers      ers are going to have to keep pressuring
     can provide five square feet of outdoor        and store representatives to the meet-        the NOSB if we truly want to see im-
     space, all commercial organic producers        ing to testify in favor of stronger organic   provements and the organic seal actu-
     should be able to fulfill such a require-      standards. This included two teenage          ally become the gold standard in animal
     ment,” notes Cornucopia’s Charlotte Val-       girls who described their chicken raising             ■
     laeys, Director of Farm and Food Policy.       practices and how they have observed that                                  —Will Fantle


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    NOSB Acts on Nutrient Policy                                                                           Several Handling Committee members
                                                                                                       work for large corporations with varying
    Deluge of Public Comments Influences Board’s Decision                                              levels of interest in organics; some have
                                                                                                       openly supported the use of Martek’s oil

                                                                                                       even though it has never had the technical
               t its April meeting the National       minerals and vitamins remain approved for
                                                                                                       review required for synthetic ingredients.
               Organic Standards Board (NOSB)         use in organic foods. Merrigan pointed out
                                                                                                       The committee’s resolution expressed a
               approved a list of minerals and        that failing to act would lead to the removal
                                                                                                       desire for the “maximum freedom of choice
    vitamins for use in organic foods that does       of important nutrient ingredients, such as
                                                                                                       for organic consumers.”
    not include Martek Bioscience Corpora-            Vitamin A and D from organic milk.
                                                                                                           That sentiment, says Cornucopia’s Char-
    tion’s controversial DHA oil. The NOSB                Since the publication of its infant
                                                                                                       lotte Vallaeys, Director of Farm and Food
    reaffirmed the current standard which states      formula report, Replacing Mother: Imitat-
                                                                                                       Policy, is at odds with the views of most or-
    that organic foods may be fortified with nu-      ing Human Breast Milk in the Laboratory,
                                                                                                       ganic consumers who “pay a price premium
    trients found in the Food and Drug Admin-         Cornucopia has been working to unravel
                                                                                                       precisely because they desire products that
    istration’s (FDA) official fortification policy   the corrupt process that led to Martek’s algal
                                                                                                       are free from unapproved novel ingredients,
    (as found in federal regulations, 21 CFR          oil in some organic products. The work is
                                                                                                       whether they be non-organically produced
    104.20). For example, Vitamin D, which is         compelling given the discovery of numerous
                                                                                                       agricultural products or synthetics.”
    commonly added to milk, is on this list, and      instances of diarrhea and vomiting in new-
                                                                                                           When the Handling Committee rec-
    is therefore allowed in organic foods.            borns given formula with the ingredient.
                                                                                                       ommendation was made public before
        Days before the NOSB meeting, the FDA             In April 2010, the National Organic
                                                                                                       the meeting, a deluge of public comments
    publicly clarified that ingredients like Mar-     Program acknowledged that it had wrongly
                                                                                                       swamped the NOSB, spurred, in large part,
    tek’s DHA oil are not “essential nutrients”       allowed the ingredient. But in 2011, the
                                                                                                       by an action alert from Cornucopia. More
    and do not fall under the FDA fortification       Handling Committee of the NOSB proposed
                                                                                                       than 2,000 people chimed in, nearly all ex-
    policy.                                           a new recommendation that sought to
                                                                                                       pressing opposition to the resolution. It was
        The NOSB decision came after USDA             expand the allowance for ingredients by per-
                                                                                                       the largest volume of public comments ever
    Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made a         mitting the use of any nutrient ingredient al-
                                                                                                       received by the NOSB on a single agenda
    plea for action. Dr. Merrigan told the board      lowed by the FDA, including those that have
                                                                                                       item, and it led the Handling Committee to
    that they needed to ensure that common            never been tested for safety or efficacy.
                                                                                                       withdraw its proposal.
                                                                                                           It’s been over a year since the National
    USDA Seeks NOSB Board Nominations                                                                  Organic Program made clear that Martek’s
                                                                                                       synthetic DHA was not allowed for use in

    T     he U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this spring that it seeks nominations            organics, but the program has yet to issue a
          to fill five imminent vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Ap-          clear timetable and guidance for removal of
    pointees will serve a five-year term beginning January 24, 2012. Vacancies for the 15-mem-         the problematic ingredients. Program Direc-
    ber organic advisory board need to be filled for an organic producer, organic handler,             tor Miles McEvoy told the NOSB on April
    consumer/public interest representative, scientist, and environmentalist. The positions            29 that they have a draft guidance “pretty
    are designated to represent various sectors of the organic industry or have expertise in the       much ready to be published.” He said that a
    fields of toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry.                                                    final guidance would likely not be out before
        Widespread abuse during the Bush and Obama administrations led to corporate agri-              the fall NOSB meeting.
    business representatives being appointed to positions that were earmarked for farmers or               Meanwhile, the Hain Celestial Group
    consumer advocates. Because of this we are appealing to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to              and Dean Foods introduced new products
    respect the will of Congress and to make the nomination process public so that the very            containing the unapproved ingredient (see
    best candidates can be appointed.The NOSB is responsible for developing and recom-                 story on page 7). And Martek has applied
    mending to the USDA Secretary a proposed National List of Allowed and Prohibited                   for approval of its DHA oil, a matter that is
    Substances and advising the Secretary on organic regulations. For application guidelines           on the agenda of the fall NOSB meeting.   ■
    visit and search for AMS-NOP-11-0006-0001. Nominations must be                                                   —Will Fantle
    postmarked by July 17. For more information, contact

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    Organic Milk Bottler Challenged

                                                                                                    SOURCE: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
    Cornucopia Files Complaint over Horizon’s Illegal Synthetic DHA

          n February The Cornucopia Institute        seeds, nuts, and grass-fed meat. But Martek
          filed a formal legal complaint alleging    produces its patented DHA additives from
          that a newly introduced product, by        microalgae species that have never previ-                           Martek Corp. DHA:
    the giant dairy conglomerate Dean Foods,         ously been part of the human diet, and that
    includes a synthetic nutritional oil that is     are fermented in a medium including corn                            Makes Babies Sick?
    prohibited in organics. The product, Horizon     syrup that is likely genetically engineered
    Fat-Free Milk Plus DHA Omega-3, bears            (GE), explained Cornucopia’s Charlotte Val-                         Megan Golden of King of Prussia, Penn-
    the USDA organic seal despite a public           laeys, Director of Farm and Food Policy.                            sylvania, watched her newborn son suffer
    statement by the USDA in 2010 that the               “Companies like Martek don’t like                               from serious vomiting and gastrointestinal
    proprietary DHA oil is not legal in organic      consumers to know that these additives are                          illness from the day he was born and given
    production.                                      often chemically extracted and treated with                         formula with DHA. At age nine weeks, she
        In April Cornucopia followed up with a       harsh chemicals, deodorized, and bleached,”                         switched to formula without these addi-
    formal request to the Federal Trade Com-         Vallaeys added. “There’s a reason why so                            tives. The baby’s symptoms vanished.
    mission (FTC), asking for an investigation       many consumers are turning to organic                                   “By the next day, my son was a com-
    into Dean Foods’ advertisements                             foods—to avoid these kinds of                            pletely different infant,” Golden recalled.
    for its Horizon milk. The request al-                       novel substances that masquerade                         “He was comfortable, not as agitated,
    leges that the nation’s largest dairy                       as food.”                                                and the throwing up had stopped. His
    conglomerate is committing con-                                 The Cornucopia Institute                             gas pains went away. His stools became
    sumer fraud in misrepresenting the                          has charged that food proces-                            normal. And he could finally relax enough
    nutritional benefits of its products.                       sors adding Martek’s algal oils                          to sleep,” said the thankful mother.
        This year the dairy giant                               to organic foods are in violation                            Hundreds of reports have been filed
    launched a nationwide market-                               of the Organic Food Production                           with the Food and Drug Administration
    ing campaign that focuses on                                Act and USDA organic standards,                          (FDA) from parents who noticed that
    purported benefits to children’s                            which prohibit unapproved non-                           their infants experienced serious diar-
    brain development from drink-                               organically produced ingredients,                        rhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal
    ing milk with added DHA oil,                                including GE, in organic foods.                          problems when consuming infant formula
    which is highly processed from                              Under current organic standards,                         with Martek’s algal DHA and fungal ARA
    fermented algae. The algal oil, developed        food processors may add essential nutrients                         oils. Severe diarrhea and vomiting are
    by Monsanto, is manufactured and mar-            to organic foods if they are covered under                          potentially fatal in infants. Some scientists
    keted by Martek Biosciences Corporation.         the Food and Drug Administration’s official                         believe these reports are just the tip of the
        According to The Cornucopia Insti-           fortification rule. Synthetic DHA is not, a                         iceberg.
    tute’s legal complaint, there is no credible     fact that was reaffirmed by a formal state-                             Formula companies and Martek Biosci-
    scientific evidence—only industry-backed         ment by the Food and Drug Administration                            ences Corporation have failed to perform
    research—to support Dean Foods’ market-          prior to the National Organic Standards                             adequate post-market surveillance to
    ing claims that Martek’s proprietary DHA oil     Board’s April 2011 meeting.                                         ensure the safety of their DHA algal oils,
    “supports brain health.”                             Under the Bush Administration, the                              despite a clear request from the FDA that
        In fact, Martek’s DHA oils, widely used in   USDA had informally allowed the additives                           additional safety studies be shared with
    infant formula (including organic brands),       in organic foods after a backroom deal with                         the public.
    have been linked to serious infant illness.      corporate lobbyists, according to documents                             For a video and summary of the over-
    (See sidebar at right.)                          Cornucopia obtained through the Freedom                             whelming scientific literature questioning
        DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3s       of Information Act.                                                 the efficacy and safety of Martek’s nutri-
    occur naturally in foods such as fish, flax          However, after numerous appeals by The                          tional oils, visit

                                                          HORIZON MILK continued on page 8                                                                          7

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    Cornucopia Prevails in Court                                                                     displaced raw domestic nuts in many major
                                                                                                     markets and retail locations across the U.S.
    USDA Drops Appeal in Raw Almond Case                                                             This regulatory loophole has been finan-
                                                                                                     cially crushing for a number of California

    T     he USDA has decided to drop its fight
          against the right of farmers to legally
    challenge its controversial raw almond pas-
                                                     whose oversight the rule was developed, has
                                                     repeatedly admitted that they do not have
                                                     food safety regulatory authority.
                                                                                                     raw almond producers.
                                                                                                        Tens of thousands of consumers
                                                                                                     expressed their discontent with the raw
    teurization mandate. The decision was made           The USDA and the Almond Board of            almond treatment rule in comments to the
    in May and came after a panel of federal         California imposed the treatment scheme         USDA. Organic and raw foods enthusiasts
    Appeals Court judges strongly affirmed in        in September 2007 to minimize the risk of       were particularly incensed that the nuts, de-
    December the “legal standing” of almond          salmonella contamination outbreaks like         spite being processed with propylene oxide
    growers to challenge the pasteurization rule.    those that had occurred in 2001 and 2004.       (identified as a carcinogen by the federal
       Cornucopia has been coordinating the          USDA investigators were never able to           EPA) or steam heat, were still allowed to be
    legal effort for a group of California almond    determine how salmonella bacteria (associ-      labeled as “raw.” Many believe that essential
    farmers who have been fighting the require-      ated with feces) somehow contaminated the       nutrients in food can be destroyed by heat,
    ment to gas their raw almonds with a toxic
    fumigant or treat the nuts with steam heat
                                                     raw almonds that caused the food illnesses,
                                                     but they were able to trace back one of the
                                                                                                     radiation, and toxic chemicals. ■
                                                                                                                                      —Will Fantle
    prior to sale to U.S. consumers. “We are         outbreaks, in part, to the country’s largest
    proud to have helped protect the funda-          “factory farm,” growing almonds and pista-           Food Safety Action Needed
    mental right of farmers to seek justice in the   chios on over 9,000 acres.                       Big Ag reps in the leafy greens industry
    court system,” says Cornucopia Codirector            Family-scale growers have argued that        have convinced the USDA to support a
    Will Fantle.                                     the onerous and expensive mandated               proposal for a “food safety” marketing
       Attorney John Vetne, who is formally          treatment regime is not legally justifiable      agreement, which would allow them
    representing the almond growers, has asked       and may only protect giant industrial-           to write “one-size-fits-all” rules for the
    the federal Justice Department lawyers (rep-     scale growers, who have less control over        entire leafy greens farming community. 
    resenting USDA) to now examine “whether          the quality of their nuts. Furthermore,          Tell the USDA that you oppose this
    justice is served by litigating the merits of    many have questioned the logic exempt-           proposal.  Comments are due by July
    what the USDA has advanced as a food             ing foreign-grown almonds from required          28. Find a complete action alert at www.
    safety rule.” Vetne notes that the USDA’s        pasteurization. Due to consumer opposition
    Agricultural Marketing Service, under            to the treatment requirement, imports have

    HORIZON MILK continued from page 7               has filed a formal petition with the National   Stremick’s, is also adding Martek’s DHA
        Cornucopia Institute, and an investiga-      Organic Program for permission, after the       algal oil to their organic products.
    tive article in the Washington Post that ex-     fact, to add its DHA additive to organic            The vast majority of organic dairy
    posed the above noted corruption under the       foods. And despite the clear indication         products on market shelves adhere to the
    previous administration, the new leadership      that the product is not approved for use in     organic standards, which prohibit synthetic
    at the USDA’s National Organic Program           organics, Dean Foods rolled out additional      pesticides, genetically engineered and modi-
    publicly acknowledged, in April 2010, that       new Horizon milk products containing the        fied organisms, antibiotics, artificial growth
    the Bush administration had misinterpreted       controversial additive.                         hormones, and synthetic additives such as
    federal rules when allowing Martek’s DHA             “The last thing we expected was to see a    Martek’s DHA. For example, Organic Valley
    algal oil in organics.                           marketer actually introduce a new product       and Stonyfield Farm use DHA derived from
        Even though it has determined that these     with these unapproved synthetic substanc-       fish oil, a source that has been approved by
    novel materials are illegal in organic food,     es,” said Vallaeys. “With this move, Dean       the National Organic Program.
    Cornucopia has blasted the USDA for failing      Foods seems to be stating that they do not          The Dairy Scorecard on Cornucopia’s
    to take enforcement action, as adverse reac-     care about organic integrity, and couldn’t      website,, ranks over
    tion reports have mounted, to remove these       care less about complying with the organic      115 organic producers, from a rave “5 cows”
    products from the marketplace.                   law.”                                           to a big fat zero for the ethically deficient.■
        In the meantime, Martek Biosciences              One other organic dairy processor,                                             —Will Fantle


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    USDA Approves GE Alfalfa Just in Time for Spring Planting
    Cornucopia Joins Lawsuit to Reverse Decision

                n January 27, USDA Secretary         arguing that the unrestricted approval of
                Tom Vilsack announced the com-       genetically engineered, Roundup Ready
                plete deregulation of Monsanto’s     Alfalfa was unlawful. In addition to Cornu-
    controversial Roundup Ready Alfalfa. The         copia, other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include
    decision swung the barn door wide open to        Beyond Pesticides, California Farmers
    spring planting of the genetically engineered    Union, Dakota Resources Council, Geertson
    (GE) crop. The biotech industry heavily          Seed Farms, National Family Farm Coali-
    pressured Vilsack and the Obama adminis-         tion, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers
    tration for its approval.                        Alliance, Sierra Club, Trask Family Seeds,
        Full deregulation was one of three           and Western Organization of Resource
    options identified in the USDA’s Final           Councils. 
    Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)                “We are an organic, grass-fed beef opera-     DNA past fence rows and onto neighboring
    on Roundup Ready Alfalfa, released in            tion relying on alfalfa in pasture mix and for    fields, contaminating crops raised for forage
    December. The USDA had been forced to            winter feed,” said Jim Munsch, an organic         and seed.
    conduct the analysis under court order, after    beef farmer from Coon Valley, Wiscon-                 Independent alfalfa seed growers have
    the Center for Food Safety, farmers, and         sin and Cornucopia’s point person on the          been among the most outspoken opponents
    their advocates like The Cornucopia Insti-       lawsuit. “GE alfalfa means contamination of       of GE alfalfa. Chuck Noble raises alfalfa on
    tute sued the USDA for failing to conduct a      all alfalfa seeds within a few years.” Munsch     his western South Dakota land, taking hay
    thorough assessment of the impacts of GE         noted they are now weighing their options,        the first year and then seeds the following
    alfalfa.                                         including “giving up organic production at        year. He estimates that as much as half of
         “We are really struggling with this issue,” great revenue loss or finding another forage      U.S. alfalfa seed production comes from in-
    said Deputy USDA Secretary Kathleen Mer-         at great cost increase.”                          dependents like himself. “Coexistence,” says
    rigan in December to a USDA-convened                 Even the prospect of limited regulation       Noble, “is not possible without wrecking the
    meeting of selected industry stakeholders in     raised howls of protest from the biotech          conventional alfalfa and seed industry and
    Washington, D.C. Both she and Vilsack de-        industry, their lobbyists, and supporters in      causing further monopoly.”
    clared their desire for collaboration among      Congress. Although more than 200,000 pub-             Nearly 20 million acres of land across the
    all sectors of agriculture as they outlined a    lic comments were received by the USDA            U.S. are in alfalfa production, making it the
    path forward that they called “coexistence.”   and the White House opposing deregulation           fourth most widely grown crop. More than
        In making their final decision, USDA         of GE alfalfa, in the end it didn’t outweigh      80% of it is grown without any herbicide
    officials rejected banning the genetically en-   biotech’s raw political power.                    usage. “To allow GE alfalfa to be grown for
    gineered version of the perennial crop that          GE alfalfa is substantively different than    a small number of people who want to plant
    is so important as forage for the livestock      GE varieties of corn and soybeans grown           into their weed patches is poor reasoning,”
    industry. And they also rejected a third op-     by many farmers. It is a perennial, mean-         Noble says.
    tion, one of limited regulation with bans on     ing that the plant’s vital seeds are subject to       The legal challenge of the USDA’s deregu-
    the planting of GE alfalfa seeds in specific     transport by animals, water, farm equip-          lation decision will be held in U.S. federal
    seed growing regions of the country to at-       ment, hay bales, or other mechanisms and          court serving Northern California. Judge
    tempt to limit the contamination of alfalfa      will spring to life in their new environ-         Samuel Conti will preside over the case. Not
    seed stock by the drift of foreign DNA from      ments. Resistant to the popular herbicide         surprisingly, Monsanto has moved to inter-
    Monsanto’s crop.                                 Roundup, they will be much more difficult         vene in the case in support of the USDA’s
        Attorneys for the Center for Food            to eradicate. And with a pollination radius       decision.■
    Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice quickly filed      of approximately five miles, bees and other                                        —Will Fantle
    a lawsuit challenging the USDA’s decision,       insects will likely carry Monsanto’s patented


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    Who Is Mischa Popoff?
                                                                                                       Movement and Made Million$ in the Process,
                                                                                                       and a Comprehensive History of Farming,
                                                                                                       Warfare and Western Civilization from 1645
    Canadian Author Reignites Attack on Organics by Corporate Agribusiness                             to the Present.
                                                                                                           Popoff acted as an organic inspector a

    W        hen The Cornucopia Institute offi-
             cially launched in April 2004, one of
    its primary issue areas was what it referred
                                                      or USDA oversight, while simultaneously
                                                      defending biotechnology and the industrial
                                                      agriculture system that organics seeks to
                                                                                                       number of years ago. He now challenges
                                                                                                       the propriety of organic accreditation and
                                                                                                       third-party certification by suggesting, echo-
    to as “The Corporate Attack on Organic Ag-        replace.                                         ing the Averys at Hudson, that “[t]here is
    riculture.” At the time, Cornucopia’s focus           Like the Averys, Popoff is a conserva-       currently little proof of actual cleanliness,
    was on the father and son team of Dennis          tive ideologue, a global warming denier, an      nutrition and fair play in the global organic
    and Alex Avery at the ultra-conservative                                                            industry.” Popoff ’s unsubstantiated claim is
    Hudson Institute’s campaign to discredit                                                            that 80% to 90% of organic food in North
                                                      Popoff is a global warming denier, an
    organics.                                                                                           America is fraudulent and imported.
        Now, in 2011, after seven years of suc-       ardent critic of hybrid automobiles,                  Popoff takes particular aim at The Cor-
    cessfully exposing the genesis of Hudson’s        and claims the organic industry is a              nucopia Institute in his book Is It Organic?
    ire, and greatly diminishing its effectiveness,                                                     He claims that Cornucopia has partnered
                                                      “socialist movement.”
    a new generation of “Trojan horse” naysay-                                                          with, and receives funding from, Organic
    ers has emerged.                                                                                    Valley and philanthropoist George Soros.
        The latest attacks come from Mischa           ardent critic of hybrid automobiles, and has     Both claims are untrue.
    Popoff, a Canadian who purports to be an          suggested that the American mortgage crisis          Is It Organic? is riddled with simi-
    advocate for organics and is publicizing his      that precipitated the financial meltdown was     lar falsehoods. For an exposé of Mischa
    self-published book entitled Is It Organic?       caused by “overregulation.” His book is sub-     Popoff ’s inaccuracies, visit http://tinyurl.
    The author misses few opportunities to            titled: The Inside Story of Who Destroyed the    com/43asg4t.  ■
    impugn the integrity of the organic label,        Organic Industry, Turned It into a Socialist                                   —Mark A. Kastel

    Cornucopia Launches Intern Program, Welcomes Development Director
    A      dministrator and Research Associate Lynn Buske took it as a
           fortuitous sign when she heard from her alma mater, Luther
    College, about its alumni internship program. Luther College is in
                                                                                    Cornucopia’s initial experiment with an internship program
                                                                                proved so successful that the nonprofit will continue seeking interns
                                                                                each season, from various places including Luther College. To inquire
    Decorah, Iowa, a strong organic rural community, and Cornucopia’s           about the program, contact Lynn Buske at
    staff, with an ever-growing workload, needed the help of bright,                This month Cornucopia also welcomes Elizabeth Wolf as its new
    talented students. This spring Cornucopia brought on two Luther             development director. Elizabeth recently returned to the Heartland
    College seniors, Kate Campbell and Collin Thompson, to provide              after 20 years in Santa Fe and Albuquerque,
    research and project assistance during the spring semester.                 where she built a successful consultancy in com-
        Kate Campbell studies management and Spanish at Luther and has          munications, marketing, and fundraising. Prior
    traveled to Chile, Costa Rica, Italy, France, and Norway. She is one of     to joining Cornucopia, she coordinated a USDA
    the leaders of a Luther student-led nonprofit, I-impact Now, which          Community Food Project and aided nonprofits
    strives to develop farmer cooperatives using sustainable agriculture        in organizational and revenue development.
    practices in Ethiopia.                                                      A fourth-generation Nebraskan, Elizabeth’s          Elizabeth Wolf

        Collin Thompson studies biology and environmental studies at Lu-        great-grandparents and grandparents were crop
    ther, where he leads the outdoor recreation program. He has worked          and dairy farmers. Elizabeth and her husband, farm author Steven
    on production farms, CSAs, family and organic farms, food coops,            McFadden, make their home in Lincoln, Nebraska.    ■
    and will soon join Decorah Urban Gardens as an assistant mentor.                                                                       —Lynn Buske


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    Dynamos in Organic Ag Tapped for
    Board and Policy Advisory Panel

                                                                                                                 Judith McGeary also joined the Panel.
                                                                                                             She is an attorney, farmer, and activist who
                                                                                                             founded the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alli-
                                                                                                             ance in 2006 and was recently appointed to
                                                                                                             the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee
                                                                                                             on Animal Health.
                                                                                                                 “We want to take this opportunity to
                                                                                                             publicly thank retiring board member Anne
                                                                                                             Lazor for her many years of service,” said
                                                                                                             Board President Steve Sprinkel. “Thought
    Cornucopia’s board and staff held their annual meeting in March in Minneapolis. (1st row): Helen Kees,
                                                                                                             to be the second certified organic farmers
    Mark Kastel, Goldie Caughlan, Amanda Love, Will Fantle; (2nd row): Dave Minar, Steve Sprinkel, William   in the U.S. in the mid-1980s, the Lazors are
    Heart, and Roger Featherstone                                                                            renowned for their generosity in helping
                                                                                                             mentor other farmers in the Northeast, and

                                                                                                             around the country.
              he Cornucopia Institute announced             Price Foundation Conference Chef, residing
                                                                                                                 “We also wish to thank Michael Her-
              the appointment of several nation-            in Austin, Texas.
                                                                                                             ron for his board service,” Sprinkel said.
              ally prominent leaders to its Board              The new Policy Advisory Panel includes
                                                                                                             Herron, a political scientist at Dartmouth
    of Directors and Policy Advisory Panel. The             Francis Thicke, Ph.D., owner/operator of
                                                                                                             College, and a charter Cornucopia board
    new members were welcomed at Cornu-                     an organic dairy near Fairfield, Iowa, who
                                                                                                             member, stepped down, at least temporarily,
    copia’s annual meeting in March, held in                has served in many leadership positions
                                                                                                             as he and his family moved to Europe for a
    Minneapolis.                                            including for the USDA-Extension Service,
                                                                                                             year-long teaching assignment.
        The new Board members include Kevin                 the Iowa Environmental Protection Com-
                                                                                                                 “We also want to especially note the
    Engelbert, the owner/operator of Engel-                 mission, the Iowa Food Policy Council,
                                                                                                             passing, this past February, of one of our
    bert Farms in Nichols, New York, the first              the USDA State Technical Committee, and
                                                                                                             founding board members, Bill Welsh,”
    certified organic dairy farm in the U.S.,               the Organic Farming Research Foundation
                                                                                                             said Sprinkel. “Bill, a true giant in organic
    and past member of the National Organic                 Board.
                                                                                                             agriculture, was one of the founders of the
    Standards Board; Dave Minar, a third-                      Also tapped for the Policy Advisory
                                                                                                             CROPP/Organic Valley cooperative and
    generation Minnesota dairy farmer named,                Panel, Michael James is a longtime commu-
                                                                                                             its meat business. He also served on the
    with wife Florence, 2007 Farmers of the                 nity organizer and founder of the legendary
                                                                                                             National Organic Standards Board. We
    Year by Midwest Organic and Sustainable                 Heartland Café in Chicago, a wholesome
                                                                                                             will truly miss Bill’s advice and counsel and,
    Education Service (MOSES); and Amanda                   foods eatery and community center. James
                                                                                                             most importantly, his wit, warmth, and
    Love, a.k.a. “The Barefoot Cook,” a Certi-              won a state Stewardship Alliance “Golden
    fied Healing Food Specialist, Natural Foods             Beet” award for bringing local food to com-
                                                                                                                                           —Mark A. Kastel
    Chef, Nutrition Educator, and Weston A.                 munities in Illinois.

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                       Cornucopia, Allies                                                                                                                  US POSTAGE

                       Launch Suit Against                                                                                                                PERMIT NO. 322

                       Monsanto                                             P.O. Box 126                                           Address Return Service Requested
                           continued from page 2                            Cornucopia, WI 54827

                           what they refer to as their ‘technology,’ can
                           intimidate and run roughshod over family
                           farmers in this country,” said Kastel.

                           Monsanto’s transgenic seed threatens organic
                           crop integrity.

                               Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine      Make a Birthday Wish
                           who raises organic seed and is President
                           of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade            We all know giving feels great. What better time to indulge than on
                           Association, called the filing of the lawsuit    the Anniversary of You? Now you can become one of the 365,000+
                           “Independence Day for America.” Added            Facebook users who “donate” their birthday to change the world.
                           Gerritsen: “We are putting Monsanto on              Our wish? That you create a “Birthday Wish” to raise friends and
                           notice. Americans have the right to choice       funds for Cornucopia. It’s easy! Follow these four simple steps:
                           in the marketplace—to decide what kind              1. Join Cornucopia’s 6,600 Facebook friends and set up a Birthday
                           of food they will feed their families—and        Wish at It takes just a few minutes.                   Facebook makes it easy
                                                                                                                                                      to support Cornucopia.
                           we are taking this action on their behalf to        2. Invite friends to give as much as they can afford or a suggested
                           protect that right to choose.”                   donation—your age in dollars is a popular choice. Donations, processed by the nonprofit
                               The Public Patent Foundation is a not-       Network for Good, are tax deductible and 100% secure.
                           for-profit legal services organization affili-      3. Ask friends to post your Wish to their Facebook page. This can help expand our coali-
                           ated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School         tion and raise up to 210% more.
                           of Law. They seek to protect freedom in the         4. Bask in the glow of supporting a cause that literally nourishes you and your world.
                           patent system by representing the public            Make a Wish and dream big! If you do, please let us know at so
                           interest against undeserved patents and          we can show our appreciation. On behalf of the 14,000 organic farmers in the U.S. and many
                           unsound patent policy. More information is       local direct marketers, along with their millions of passionate consumer allies, we thank you
                           available at    ■                for your support. ■
                                                            —Will Fantle                                                                                    —Elizabeth Wolf

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