CORNUCOPIA, Wis., July 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Marking today's close of a 90-day public comment period on proposed USDA rules for animal welfare on organic farms, organic industry watchdog The Cornucopia Institute criticized the rule as a "giveaway" to factory farm interests masquerading as organic, and advised consumers to reaffirm their support for authentic organic family-scale farmers by "taking the law into their own hands" and seeking out truly organic eggs, produced humanely.
To that end, Cornucopia relaunched its Scrambled Eggs report and organic egg brand scorecard today. Based on six years of research, it rates various organic brands on how their eggs are produced in accordance with federal organic standards and consumer expectations. It profiles exemplary management practices employed by many family-scale organic farmers engaged in egg production, while spotlighting abuses at so-called "factory farms," some of which confine hundreds of thousands of chickens in industrial buildings and market these eggs to consumers as "organic."
The proposed USDA animal welfare rule has been one of the biggest controversies in the history of the organic movement, prompting comments from over 5000 citizens, lobbyists and organic stakeholders. The USDA allows up to two million "organic" birds to be confined on giant concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Advocates say federal law clearly requires "access to the outdoors." But analysis by Cornucopia finds the options presented in the USDA's draft rule would confine birds to as little as one square foot indoors and only require farms to provide two square feet of "pasture" outdoors, half of which could be covered with concrete.
"At best, the USDA proposal delays enforcement for five to seven years allowing continued factory farm confinement production," states Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for The Cornucopia Institute. "Families, with growing children to feed, can't wait that long for nutritionally superior food, and more and more are seeking the guidance provided in our Scrambled Eggs report and scorecard, separating phony industrial production from truly exemplary organic eggs."
The report, scorecard, and full version of this release are posted on www.cornucopia.org.
NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: Mark Kastel and other Cornucopia policy experts, and scientists, are available for interviews. To arrange one, please contact Stephen Kent, [email protected], 914-589-5988.
SOURCE The Cornucopia Institute