For the last 25 years, Center for Food Safety has spearheaded the creation of a new food future, building an increasingly powerful food movement that is fighting the harmful industrial agriculture system and promoting organic, ecological, and regenerative alternatives.
And the past year has been a historic one for Center for Food Safety. We are incredibly proud of our victories and accomplishments protecting public health, native salmon and oceans, animal welfare, endangered species and the environment, and pollinators like Monarch butterflies.
During these challenging times, our work has increased, and we continue to fight every day to protect people and the planet. Together, we share a vision for a food system that prioritizes health and the environment and we're proud to share these updates with you.
Here are some of the recent groundbreaking victories and accomplishments that we have achieved, together:
Stopping GMO Foods and Animals
• First GE animal approval held unlawful: After a four-year CFS lawsuit, a federal court declared the approval of the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) animal, a GMO salmon, to be illegal! This decision is a huge victory for wild salmon, the environment, tribes, and our fishing communities.
• Overturned a toxic Monsanto pesticide: We had one of the most important legal victories ever against pesticides and GE crops in 2020. As a result of our lawsuit, we made history when a federal court overturned the approval of Monsanto's toxic pesticide dicamba, used primarily on GE crops. The decision also forced EPA to consider impacts of pesticide drift on farmers and the environment when approving future pesticides.
Alongside our groundbreaking victories to stop GMOs and the pesticides they depend on, we recently filed several new lawsuits:
• New lawsuit to save GMO food labeling: CFS recently filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against USDA challenging new GMO labeling regulations and to force labeling of GMOs on the package. New regulations could mean the vast majority of genetically engineered food would have NO label and instead allow for digital "QR" codes that must be scanned with a smartphone.
• New lawsuit to stop deregulation of GMO foods: CFS filed a federal lawsuit challenging a USDA decision to eliminate oversight of genetically engineered (GE) foods. If not overturned, GE foods and animals could flood the market, and be grown and sold without testing, oversight, or scientific review.
Protecting Pollinators and Eliminating Toxic Pesticides
• Saving Monarch butterflies! As a result of CFS's legal and scientific actions and a court settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that Monarch butterflies deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This means Monarchs will soon be protected from further risk of extinction and put on the path back to recovery. This is a major and much needed victory for the survival of these iconic butterflies!
• Banned a brain-damaging pesticide: After studies found that the pesticide chlorpyrifos harms children's brain development, CFS wrote, lobbied, and passed a first-of-its-kind bill that banned the pesticide chlorpyrifos in Hawaii, and helped secure similar bans in California, New York, and now at the federal level.
• Forced EPA to admit risks of neonicotinoids on endangered species: As a result of CFS litigation, EPA acknowledged that three major neonicotinoids are "likely to adversely affect" over 1,000, or 79% of all endangered species. This admittance will pave the way for strong future arguments against neonicotinoid insecticides.
• Stopped the approval of a new toxic pesticide: In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity, chemical giant BASF agreed to stop the manufacture and sale of the pesticide trifludimoxazin, which has been found to "likely cause severe harm" to many threatened and endangered fish, including endangered populations of Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, Atlantic sturgeon, and smalltooth sawfish
• Blanket pesticide spraying found unlawful in CA: In a major victory for public health and the environment, a California court ruled that a sweeping state pesticide spraying program is unlawful due to failures to adequately study and minimize public health threats from pesticides.
• This year we also filed a lawsuit representing front-line farmworkers to stop the cancer-causing pesticide glyphosate (the main chemical used in Roundup), and another lawsuit to stop the endocrine-disruptor atrazine—the top two most used pesticides in the U.S. We also have active litigation to stop the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor, as EPA failed to consider the pesticide's harms to endangered species and bees.
Dismantling Factory Farms and Protecting Animals
• Struck down controversial "ag-gag" laws in Kansas and Iowa that criminalized sharing information critical of animal agriculture (working in coalition with animal and consumer organizations). This is a huge victory for animals and for free speech!
Protecting our Oceans from Polluting Aquaculture Facilities
• Struck down illegal aquaculture regulations: CFS is one of the only organizations fighting industrial fish farms, also known as aquaculture facilities ("floating factory farms of the sea"). We scored a landmark victory when a federal appeals court struck down illegal regulations that would have established for the first time permanent commercial aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters. While the case centered on the Gulf of Mexico, the scheme was a model for all US federal waters.
• Stopping polluting commercial shellfish aquaculture: CFS won another first-of-its kind case to stop polluting commercial shellfish aquaculture operations in state coastal waters, a huge win for vital species like salmon and orcas. This decision recognized for the first time the harmful impacts that shellfish aquaculture has on coastal ecosystems.
Fighting for Strong and Meaningful Organic Standards and Promoting Regenerative Agriculture
• Securing humane livestock standards in the organic standard: CFS litigation forced USDA to reinstate animal welfare protections for all organic livestock that the Trump administration had eliminated. Our lawsuit to reduce confinement, improve living conditions, and increase food safety in organic meat and egg products will continue as the new standards are finalized.
• Secured funding for alternative farming practices that reduce carbon emissions from farms in California. CFS advocated for and helped secure $1.3 billion in funding for equitable and resilient food and farming system investments in California, including $75 million for Healthy Soils.
New Videos and Reports!
• CFS's science team continues to create groundbreaking reports on issues including factory farms, impacts of neonic pesticides on pollinators and the environment, Monarch butterflies, chemicals in food, regenerative farming, and much more!
• CFS launched our Regenerating Paradise: Season 2 video series which showcases innovative farming initiatives in Hawaii, showing the rest of the country how regenerative and local food systems can simultaneously support the economy, strengthen cultural heritage, and improve the overall health of a community.
All of these victories and accomplishments would not be possible without your activism and support! Thank you for helping make all this progress and many victories possible.
VICTORY REPORT 2020-2021
The Victory Report below outlines many of our major legal, policy, and grassroots successes in halting the spread of the genetic engineering of our foods, stopping the use and misuse of pesticides, protecting our pollinators and seed diversity, defending farmers and farm communities from corporate takeover and persecution, halting the unspeakable cruelty of animal factories, and addressing industrial agriculture's contribution to the climate crisis.