The USDA is accepting public comments on the third genetically engineered apple from Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the Arctic Fuji. Like the already approved Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, it is designed not to brown when exposed to air. It’s a marketer’s dream, allowing them to deceptively sell what appears to be fresh, high quality fruit. The company describes their GMO apple as a “cost-saving means for the fresh sliced apple business.” The reality is that the GMO apple is a bit like a Twinkie – which can seemingly appear fresh for decades. Okanagan’s genetic tinkering confers no agronomic or nutritional benefits to the apple cultivar. The deadline for public comments on the Fuji GMO apple is midnight Monday (EST), September 12.
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Prominent Organic Egg Brand Investigated
Cornucopia’s popular egg report and scorecard help consumers choose high-integrity organic brands while food shopping. We have recently suspended one egg producer’s rating, Handsome Brook Farm, pending results from an investigation we have been conducting over the last several months. Last week, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed suit against Handsome Brook Farm, alleging it has been selling eggs labeled as “pasture raised” that do not meet consumer expectations of that label, including eggs bought on the open market. OCA further alleges that eggs bought on the open market are not guaranteed American Humane Certified, as Handsome Brook promises on its cartons.
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Healthy Cooking Classes for Doctors
In response to the perception that organic food is expensive, Cornucopia Codirector Mark Kastel often says that you can pay for organic food now or medical bills later. The quality of the food we ingest is of primary importance, but many doctors are ill-equipped to recommend which foods can best safeguard our health. Some medical schools, like Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, are beginning to teach doctors about nutrition and cooking, enabling them to inform their patients about delicious and healthy meals made from wholesome ingredients.
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A New Day for New Morning Farm
Jim and Moie Crawford have grown organic vegetables, herbs, and berries on 95 acres at New Morning Farm for 40 years. In that time, they have apprenticed more than 200 would-be farmers and helped found the hugely successful, farmer-owned Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative (TOGC). Jim is an agricultural innovator, focused on tending the relationships which ensure the farm remains sustainable into the future. “My retirement is tied to my success at managing people; getting, finding, and keeping a good crew,” says Crawford. So far, so good. Thanks to their legacy planning, the Crawfords were able to tour Germany during planting season this year, a rare treat for working farmers.
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Some Big Box Stores Quitting Neonicotinoids
A study of large retail stores in 14 cities across the U.S. shows a dramatic reduction of neonicotinoid pesticides measured in pollinator-friendly plants. In 2013 and 2014, nearly half of the tested plants tested positive for pollinator harming neonics, while this year less than a quarter of them did. Over the last two years, more than 65 garden retailers have committed to taking some action to eliminate neonicotinoids from their shelves. Increasing consumer awareness is clearly encouraging stores to consider pollinators as they procure garden plants for sale.
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