For the last twenty-five years, Center for Food Safety has been at the forefront of creating a new food future, organizing an increasingly powerful food movement that is fighting the industrial agriculture model and promoting organic, ecological, and regenerative alternatives.
2020 was a historic year for Center for Food Safety! We are incredibly proud of our victories and accomplishments which helped protect public health, native salmon, animal welfare, the environment, and pollinators including Monarch butterflies.
During these challenging times, our work has not slowed down, and we continue to fight for government policies that protect people and the planet. Together, we share a vision for a food system that prioritizes human health and the environment and we're proud to share these updates with you. Thank you for your donations and actions which support this critical work!
Here are some of the groundbreaking victories and accomplishments that we have achieved, together!
Stopping GMO Foods and Pesticides
— Victory! Stopping GMO salmon: After four years of litigation conducted by the CFS legal team, a federal court has declared the approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon illegal! This decision is a huge victory for wild salmon, the environment, and our fishing communities. The absolute last thing our planet needs right now is a human-created crisis of escaped genetically engineered fish threatening native salmon populations
— Victory! Stopped a Monsanto pesticide: We made history this year! CFS had one of the most important legal victories ever against pesticides and GMO crops. As a result of our lawsuit, a federal court overturned the approval of Monsanto's toxic pesticide dicamba, used primarily on GMO crops. The Court cited "enormous and unprecedented damage" to farmers caused by dicamba in the last few years and forced EPA to consider impacts on farmers when approving pesticides. This is a huge victory for farmers, wildlife, and the environment!
— New lawsuit to save GMO food labeling: In August 2020, CFS filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against USDA challenging the GMO labeling regulations. The new regulations do not mandate on-package labeling, and instead allow for digital "QR" codes that must be scanned with a smartphone. Among other issues, our lawsuit argues that this discriminates against tens of millions of Americans without smartphones and that we all have the right to know how our food is produced.
— New lawsuits to stop glyphosate and atrazine: In March 2020, CFS filed a legal challenge to stop the cancer-causing pesticide glyphosate (the main chemical used in Roundup). CFS is representing front-line farmworkers who are disproportionately harmed by exposure to glyphosate. CFS also filed a lawsuit to stop the endocrine-disrupting pesticide atrazine. Glyphosate and atrazine are the top two most used pesticides in the United States. We'll be up against the government and major corporations such as Bayer/Monsanto as these cases continue in the coming year.
— Fighting 2,4-D "Agent Orange" Crops: In July 2020, a federal Court ruled that the approval of Duo Enlist pesticide — a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D primarily used on GMO crops — was illegal because it failed to account for its harm to Monarch butterflies. The pesticide 2,4-D was an element in the infamous defoliant Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War, and Roundup has been classified by numerous scientific bodies as a probable carcinogen. EPA now has to go back and address these harms. Another victory for pollinators and the environment!
Stopping Other Toxic Pesticides & Protecting Endangered Species
— Victory for Monarch Butterflies! As a result of an initiating CFS legal action and a subsequent legal settlement requiring a decision, in December 2020 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that Monarch butterflies do warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ESA listing means the butterflies will 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! Our work began in 2014 and took almost seven years of scientific and legal work led by the Center for Food Safety team. Now the task at hand is clear: CFS will pressure the Biden administration to do what is urgently needed to protect Monarchs and grant them the protections they need now.
— Victory! Stopped the toxic pesticide sulfoxaflor: In January 2021, a federal court rejected the EPA's demand to allow farmers to continue spraying the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor as the agency had failed to consider the pesticide's harms to endangered species. This victorious ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by CFS challenging the EPA's 2019 approval of sulfoxaflor's use across more than 200 million acres despite the agency's conclusion that the pesticide is "very highly toxic" to bees. Another huge win for pollinators, the environment, and public health!
— Huge win for the bees: Last year, our legal team scored a groundbreaking legal victory when a federal court concluded that the EPA approval of dozens of neonicotinoid pesticides was illegal. As a result of our eight-year lawsuit, a dozen of these bee-killing pesticides were taken off the market! And we're currently part of many more legal actions and legislative campaigns to further protect bees, Monarch butterflies, and other pollinators.
— Protecting our children from toxic pesticides: After studies found that the pesticide chlorpyrifos harms children's brain development, CFS wrote, lobbied, and passed a bill that banned it in Hawaii, and secured similar bans in California and New York. Now we're working hard to replicate these wins in other states and ban this toxic pesticide at the federal level.
Stopping Factory Farms
— Securing humane livestock standards in organic: CFS continued our lawsuit against USDA to reinstate animal welfare protections in organic food production to reduce confinement, improve living conditions, and increase food safety.
— Pressuring Tillamook Creamery: We got more than 50,000 people to demand that Tillamook Creamery support local family farms and not source from polluting factory farms as they do now. We're currently advancing the next stage of this campaign. They're feeling the pressure — your advocacy is making a difference!
Stopping Polluting "Factory Farms of the Sea"
— Victory! Win for our oceans: CFS is one of the only organizations fighting industrial fish farms, also known as aquaculture facilities, and we scored a landmark victory protecting our oceans and fishing communities. In August 2020, a federal appeals court held illegal regulations that would have allowed large-scale industrial aquaculture operations offshore in U.S. federal waters.
— Stopping shellfish aquaculture: In spring 2020, CFS won another first-of-its kind case to stop polluting commercial shellfish aquaculture operations in Washington State, a huge win for the environment and vital species like salmon and orcas.
Promoting Regenerative Agriculture
— Promoting Regenerative Solutions to the Climate and Industrialized Food Crisis: In July 2020, we launched Season 2 of our video series Regenerating Paradise. Hawaii's food system is in the midst of an economic and cultural renaissance. Led by small-scale producers, local composting initiatives, and statewide farm-to-school and cafeteria pilot programs; consumers and producers are working together to transform the Islands' agricultural landscape. With all these groundbreaking initiatives in Hawaii, we are showing the rest of the country how circular, 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.
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.
Read our Victories Report (Download here)
You can also download the PDF report here