Center for Food Safety

USDA Gives in to Big 'Organic' Poultry, Moves to Withdraw New Animal Welfare Rules

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) formally proposed withdrawing a set of rules finalized at the end of the Obama administration that establish stronger, more enforceable animal welfare requirements for certified organic producers.

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What Netflix's 'Okja' Gets Right About Big Food (Video)

Netflix's recent, original feature film Okja has triggered a bit of disruption amongst both those in the film industry and enthusiasts in the food movement.

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Public Interest Groups, Farmers File Lawsuit Challenging Monsanto’s Toxic Pesticides

Farmers and conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit on Friday challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of Monsanto’s new “XtendiMax” pesticide. The approval of the pesticide company’s latest version of the older weed-killer known as dicamba permits it to be sprayed directly on Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE), dicamba-resistant soybeans and cotton. The decision greenlights a more than 10-fold increase in use of the toxic pesticide, increasing risks to farmers, community health, and the environment. Because these same crops are also engineered to withstand applications of Monsanto’s Roundup, the overuse of that pesticide (containing the active ingredient glyphosate) will continue at current high levels.

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Court Fails to Protect Bees and Beekeepers From Toxic Pesticides

On November 21, a judge in the Northern District of California delivered a crushing blow to the nation’s beekeepers and imperiled honey bees. The judge ruled against the beekeepers and public interest advocates in a lawsuit seeking to protect honey bees and the broader environment from unregulated harms caused by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lax policies for seeds coated with certain insecticides known to cause massive die-offs of honey bees.

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Local Governments Can Prohibit GE Crops, Says U.S. Court of Appeals

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decisions Friday on whether federal and Hawai'i state laws preempt Hawai'i counties' authority to regulate genetically engineered (GE) crops and pesticide use. Of significance to state and local communities throughout the U.S., the Ninth Circuit ruled that federal law—specifically, the Plant Protection Act—does not prohibit states and counties from passing local laws to regulate and ban commercially-grown GE crops.

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Victory for Consumers as Judge Rules Pesticide Contamination Should Be Prohibited From Organic Production

Synthetic pesticides are once again prohibited in compost used for organic production, thanks to a federal court in the Northern District of California. The court issued a decision in litigation brought by several nonprofits challenging the United States Department of Agriculture’s allowance of pesticide contamination in compost used in organic food production.

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A Bayer and Monsanto Merger Would Be Disastrous for Humans and the Environment

When we think about seeds, the images we most often conjure are simple, comforting and tangible – planting vegetable and flower gardens in the spring, spitting watermelon seeds on a hot summer day, toasting pumpkin seeds after carving jack-o-lanterns in the fall, feeding bright cardinals in the winter. Seeds are for all seasons. What most of us don’t think about are unsettling things like toxic pesticides, pollinator decline and the illegalization of seed-saving. Unfortunately, these are all prominent features of agriculture in America today. And this has a lot to do with the enormous global corporations that have gained control of the world’s seeds, the source of our food supply and the indispensable basis of all agriculture.

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FDA Sued Over Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon

A broad coalition of organizations sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today for approving the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) food animal, an Atlantic salmon engineered to grow quickly. The man-made salmon was created by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. with DNA from three fish: Atlantic salmon, Pacific king salmon and Arctic ocean eelpout. This marks the first time any government in the world has approved a GE animal for commercial sale and consumption.

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Women in the Developing World Are Key to Global Food Security, but They Are Overlooked

Have you thanked a female farmer lately? If not, you should! Women have been a driving force in agriculture for thousands of years.

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Monsanto Is Suing California for Trying to Inform People That Roundup Causes Cancer

Once again, Monsanto is trying to take away our right to know, this time about carcinogenic chemicals used in household products and places all around us. In January, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against the state of California for its intent to list glyphosate, the main chemical used in Monsanto’s flagship Roundup herbicide, under California's Proposition 65, a law that mandates notification and labeling of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into drinking waters of the state.

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The U.S. Has Approved Industrial Aquaculture in Deep Offshore Waters for the First Time -  and It’s a Huge Step Backwards

The tragedy of industrial agriculture, the unwise adoption of inherently unsustainable forms of food production over the past generation, has cost us dearly in environmental destruction and public health. From millions of acres of monocultured, genetically engineered, pesticide-promoting crops to inhumane and filthy, water-and-air-polluting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), the dominant paradigm for current crop and animal production on land in the United States relies on intensive and toxic inputs.

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FDA Puts the Brakes on Genetically Engineered Salmon Until Labeling Requirements Are Established

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced it would block all imports of AquaBounty’s recently approved genetically engineered (GE) salmon until the agency had determined how to label the novel product. The agency approved the salmon in October without any mandatory labeling indicating that the product is engineered with DNA from another species.

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New Study Finds Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Has Gone Wild, Exposing Failure of “Coexistence” Policy

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has long maintained that genetically engineered (GE) crops can co-exist with traditional and organic agriculture.  According to this “co-existence” narrative, if neighboring GE and traditional farmers just sort things out among themselves and follow “best management practices,” transgenes will be confined to GE crops and the fields where they are planted.

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The New GMO Apple Is a Health Hazard, but the USDA Approved It Anyway

After decades of promises from the biotech industry that genetically engineered (GE) food would feed the world, cure the sick, reduce agricultural dependence on toxic chemicals, and save countless crops from imminent collapse, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a product they think will solve a problem humans have struggled with for centuries… an apple that doesn’t brown when you slice it… Seriously; we couldn’t make this stuff up.

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Big Food Discriminates Against the Poor by Pushing QR Codes to Label GMOs

It’s no surprise that according to yet another recent poll, Americans overwhelmingly believe they have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered, with roughly 90 percent regularly voicing support of mandatory GMO labeling. The new national survey conducted by the Mellman Group confirms these previous results.

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Poll: Nearly Nine in 10 Americans Want Labels on GMO Food

By an overwhelming margin, American voters say consumers should have the right to know if their food is genetically modified, with 89 percent in support of mandatory GMO labeling, according to a new national poll. Nearly the same number of consumers would like to see the labels in an easy to read format.

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How the TPP Fulfills Big Ag's Wish List

The highly anticipated text of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP), negotiated by 12 countries representing around 40 percent of the global economy, was released on November 12. Center for Food Safety (CFS) is reviewing the agreement consisting of 30 chapters and more than 2,000 pages to assess potential impacts on food safety, genetically engineered foods and crops, food labeling, pesticides and other chemical usage, intellectual property rights pertaining to seeds and pharmaceuticals, and other public health and environmental issues.

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New GMO-Free Zone Will Protect Traditional Farmers in Colorado

A new ordinance introduced on Thursday in Costilla County, Colorado, will establish a “Center of Origin” GMO-Free Zone of Protection to preserve the county’s unique agricultural products and traditional farming systems. The ordinance is intended to protect the county’s traditional acequia (community irrigation ditch) farmers and their land race heirloom maize varieties that are unique to the Upper Rio Grande watershed. The GMO-Free Zone will help traditional and organic farmers avoid the serious risk of transgenic contamination from nearby genetically engineered (GE) crops, particularly GE corn.

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More Than 100 Monsanto Employees Crashed My Presentation on GE Crops and Pesticides

On October 14, I presented the findings of the Center for Food Safety's Pesticides in Paradise report on the island of Moloka‘i in Hawai'i. At around 5:45 PM, about 15 minutes before the presentation was going to start, more than 100 Monsanto employees, all dressed in neon yellow shirts, arrived.  

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For the First Time Ever, a U.S. Food Company Commits to Phasing Out Bee-Killing Seed Coatings

Pop Weaver, the second largest popcorn supplier in the country, has taken a bold step toward removing bee-toxic insecticides from its popcorn supply. Earlier this month, CFS launched a campaign urging the company to phase out the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings. In an announcement last week on its website and Facebook page, Pop Weaver committed to “removing 50% of its neonicotinoids usage in 2016, 75% in 2017, with a long-term commitment of further reducing usage by working with agricultural universities and those companies supplying neonicotinoids to the seed industry.”

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How an Agrichemical Industry Mouthpiece Is Trying to Undermine GE Labeling with Bogus Legal Analysis

In an op-ed published by Forbes last week, a pro-biotechnology mouthpiece who used to work for the tobacco industry wrote a provocative piece arguing that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision imperiled the constitutionality of mandatory genetically engineered food labeling. The claim is flat out wrong and shows no understanding of constitutional law or the issue of labeling of genetically engineered foods. Before rebutting it, some context is helpful.

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Junk Food Lobby Forced to Disclose Secret Donors in Campaign to Stop GMO Labeling

Just a few weeks ago, attorneys for the No on 522 campaign were feeling rather smug when a lawsuit filed against them by a group called “Moms for Labeling” was dismissed. As I wrote last week, consumer class action attorney Knoll Lowney sued the No on 522 and the Washington DC-based Grocery Manufactures Association (lobbyists for major food corporations) for not disclosing the donors behind GMA’s $7 million-plus donation to stop I-522, which would require genetically-engineered foods to be labeled. The judge threw out that case on a technicality.

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Junk Food Lobbyists Sued for Money Laundering in Washington State

In the final weeks leading up to Election Day, the debate over measure I-522 in Washington State is getting even uglier. As I recently explained, the Grocery Manufacturer Association, the nation’s largest trade group for the processed food industry, has been flexing its muscle to oppose the labeling of genetically-engineered food, both at the federal and state levels. Now, a lawsuit brought by a non-profit called “Moms for Labeling” alleges that GMA crossed the line by not properly disclosing who is behind the whopping $7 million-plus the trade group has donated to the No on 522 campaign so far.

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Why the Center for Science in the Public Interest Is Wrong Not to Support Genetically Engineered Food Labeling

You may have noticed the impressive grassroots movement gathering steam lately over the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Recently, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to enact a law to require such labels, and 26 other states have introduced similar bills this year. Millions of Americans are demanding more transparency in the food supply and our elected officials are finally responding, after decades of work by groups like Center for Food Safety (CFS). 

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