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Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute is a farming policy and watchdog group located in Cornucopia, Wisconsin, with the aim of upholding standards of organic and related farming principles. Among its activities is the investigation of various foods for their "scorecard" system, including egg and dairy for those concerned with with animal welfare. They also include guides to help consumers interested in organic food avoid certain hard-to-spot ingredients.

Results

Funding

According to their website, in 2017 their sources of income were "Individual Giving", "Foundations", "Cooperatives and Business", "Interest and other revenue", and "In-kind Contributions". The words "government" and "grant" do not appear in their 2017 financial report. Their "total unresticted[sic] revenue and other support" in 2017 was about 1 million dollars.

Information

Cornucopia Institute's website provides information on various aspects of the market for consumers interested in organic food.

Ingredient warnings

Their site has information about how to avoid hexane in nutrition bars and meat alternatives. They have been cited on this topic by CBS News, Consumer Reports, and Food Safety News. They also have similar warnings for carrageenan and other chemicals.

Animal treatment scorecards

The Cornucopia Institute's egg and dairy scorecards each have (as of 2019) over 100 farms listed. Each listing gives information on Cornucopia's assessment of the farm's adherence to organic farming principles, including treatment of animals. They have been cited on this topic by NPR.

Evidence of cheating gathered

In 2014, the Cornucopia Institute commissioned aerial photographs of 14 purportedly organic farms to provide evidence of non-compliance. They published the photographs on their website, though they also filed official complaints with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (which was perhaps their primary motivation).

Government Involvement

The Cornucopia Institute are also involved in influencing government policy, such as advocating for laws and suing the USDA. They also file complaints against companies such as Target or Horizon Organic for improper labeling of organic foods, including complaints based on aerial photography they collected.

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