April 23, 2014

Big Ag doesn’t want you to care about pesticides

by Tom Laskawy
Grist

phpThumb generated thumbnailjpg1 Big Ag doesn’t want you to care about pesticides

Power to the people pesticide industry! Photo from Grist

The produce lobby is livid that consumers might be concerned about pesticides. They are taking their fury out on the USDA for its annual report on pesticide use (via The Washington Post):

In a recent letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 18 produce trade associations complained that the data have “been subject to misinterpretation by activists, which publicize their distorted findings through national media outlets in a way that is misleading for consumers and can be highly detrimental to the growers of these commodities.”

This report happens also to be the basis for the Environmental Working Group’s popular “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists of fruit and vegetables with the most and least pesticide residues. The produce lobbyists are pretty steamed about those, too:

“There are some organizations with agendas that do want to scare people away from fresh produce,” said Kathy Means, a vice president at the Produce Marketing Association, a major industry group. “We don’t want anyone eating unsafe foods, of course. But for those products that are grown legally and the science says [the pesticide] is safe, we don’t want people turning away.”

Never mind that many consumers want this information. As with labels for genetically modified food, the industry’s position is that ignorance leads to bliss (or at least profits!).

Read the Full Article here: http://www.grist.org/industrial-agriculture/2011-05-16-produce-lobby-doesnt-want-you-to-care-about-pesticides

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Russian Family Gardens Produce 40% of Russian Food

Russian Family Gardens Produce 40% of Russian Food

Earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia will not import GMO products because Russia has enough space and resources to produce organic food.

This was not a political statement of posturing, given the current cool relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine. As it turns out, Russia’s food security is light years ahead of the U.S.

As you will read below, a significant portion of the Russian population own “dachas,” or seasonal garden homes, where they can grow their own food. At the height of the communist era, it is reported that these dachas produced 90% of the nation’s food. Today, with the land now privatized, they still comprise about 40% of the nation’s food.

Compare that with the United States, where less than 1% of the population controls the food, and small-scale family farms have for the most part been bought out by huge Biotech corporations.

Russia Bans Import of GMO Products – Promotes Organic Food

Russia Bans Import of GMO Products – Promotes Organic Food

Russia will not import GMO products, the country’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, adding that the nation has enough space and resources to produce organic food.

Moscow has no reason to encourage the production of genetically modified products or import them into the country, Medvedev told a congress of deputies from rural settlements on Saturday.

“If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food,” he said.

Study: Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

Study: Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

A highly concerning new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International reveals that despite the still relatively benign reputation of agrochemicals such as Roundup herbicide, many chemical formulations upon which the modern agricultural system depend are far more toxic than present regulatory tests performed on them reveal. Roundup herbicide, for instance, was found to be 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation.

Food Security: Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse

Food Security: Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse

This year, food security is set to suffer another big setback, and the culprit could not be cuter: honeybees. Last winter, America’s beekeeping industry lost nearly half of all its bee colonies. And the numbers keep falling. Last summer, in the largest bee kill on record, more than 50,000 bumblebees were killed in Oregon as a direct result of exposure to an insecticide applied to trees for cosmetic purposes.

The killing has gotten so bad that people are calling it a beepocalypse. This is a serious situation. One-third of the food produced in North America depends on pollination by our honeybees. Nearly 100 varieties of fruits depend on honeybee pollination, from almonds (which are California’s third-largest export) to avocados to apples to cranberries.

America, then, must act fast if we want to save our bees, our food and our economic productivity.

U.S. GMO Policy Hurting Exports, Costing Jobs, As China Rejects US GMO Corn

U.S. GMO Policy Hurting Exports, Costing Jobs, As China Rejects US GMO Corn

Health concerns aside, U.S. GMO policy is damaging the U.S. economy and costing jobs. China just announced they were rejecting U.S. GMO corn in favor of Brazilian corn, draining hundreds of millions of dollars out of the U.S. economy.

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