USDA Suspends Pesticide Reporting to Benefit Monsanto

Celsias reports that the safety of our food supply is under further threat by the USDA’s decision to stop reporting on pesticide use.

On May 21, the US Department of Agriculture, or USDA, announced that it would stop its annual publication on the kinds and amounts of pesticides applied to crops in the U.S.

This annual Agricultural Chemical Usage report, begun in 1990, will no longer serve thousands of farmers, agricultural inspectors, environmental agencies, state and local representatives, chemical researchers and even chemical manufacturing companies, as a free resource to track U.S. pesticide usage. The alternatives for getting the information, priced as high as $500, are both out of the financial reach of many farmers and consumers, and provide less reliable information.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, also uses the data from these reports to determine which chemicals need to be regulated. Without this information, the successive or duplicate spraying of food crops with various chemicals could lead to lethal consequences in human, animal and aquatic populations. In fact, failure to monitor could result in currently illegal chemicals like Captan, Dursban and Endosulfan returning to the U.S. food supply and drinking water.

More important, researchers who track pesticide use on genetically modified (GM) crops like soybeans, corn and cotton will no longer be able to confirm that these GM crops actually require more pesticides than their native cousins, as a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently proved.

Given this future inability to track pesticide use in GM crops, Monsanto is now free to restate its claim that GM crops require fewer pesticides. It is also free to extend its already phenomenal reach (50 percent of corn and 90 percent of soybeans into America’s farming communities.

This is a very effective tactic of the conservative movement. Kill the measurement that allows people to research, to know and thus to choose, and the big corporates can then just do and say what they like, even when it is untrue. We are all losers when this happens.

14 thoughts on “USDA Suspends Pesticide Reporting to Benefit Monsanto

  1. Oh well we are just about at saturation point anyway.
    Cancer has made it from 1 in 5 to 3 in 5 in just a few short years.

    Who gives a darn, as long as the pay out to the share holders goes up. Let the bludgers & their kids start dieing in the street.

    That will prove to the money boys that we aren’t waisting any cash on them.
    We are now a big grown up country just like the wonderful Americans.

    Don’t mind me: poison is a touchy subject this week–they are pouring 1080 over my personal piece of paradise once again.

  2. “It looks like a classic case of taking away the stick that environmentalists are beating you with. Perhaps environmentalists should shell out for their own stick?”

    Yeah, it’s important that people don’t know what’s going on otherwise we might have a democracy and informed consumers and who knows what that might lead to? We should also have the option of taking our kids out of school and getting a tax rebate. And why should the illiterate pay for road signs that they can’t read anyway?

  3. We have ”imagined fears” all the time, but not many get acted on for some reason…

    Good thing the batteries are in the bonnet of a car and not flaking off my walls!

  4. > PS, while you’re at it, do you think you get more lead back in paint? The performance of my paint could be a little higher, and not having as much in there is such a hassle .

    Not sure about that, but we could put lead back in solder if you like. Just let us know. It has cost billions to retool the entire worldwide electronics industry on the back of some imagined fears from European environmentalists.

    Meanwhile we still use lead acid batteries…

  5. My 9-59 post was for Optimist btw…

    but data on gross use volumes is irrelevant for the public interest since pesticides are continuously metabolized.

    You’re probably raise a good point. But are you saying that information like ‘0.943 pounds per acre per year of Methomyl on apples’ would still be available? i.e. currently, if we knew the amount was overly high, we could choose to avoid such crops…

  6. Yes, this makes life so much better , thank god I don’t know the amount of chemicals that go on my food anymore, I’ve been hoping desperately for this to happen for YEARS! Me and millions of other consumers! Thanks industry/government!

    PS, while you’re at it, do you think you get more lead back in paint? The performance of my paint could be a little higher, and not having as much in there is such a hassle .

  7. All pesticides are regulated. Since each country may have its own laws, international phyto-sanitary protocols cover all world trade in farm produce. Residue tolerance levels are also set by country. Endosulfan is not an illegal pesticide. It can and should be used safely and judiciously. Better sampling and certified test facilities will help to prevent abuse of pesticides, but data on gross use volumes is irrelevant for the public interest since pesticides are continuously metabolized.

  8. What? A reduction in red tape? Get with the programme, Americans.

    It looks like a classic case of taking away the stick that environmentalists are beating you with. Perhaps environmentalists should shell out for their own stick?

  9. Yeh, but Cheney has to have exploited it betther thaqn anyone else to date, hasn’t he frog?

  10. OutInFront – I don’t think that the corruption is limited to just the Republicans. The corporate revolving door into and out of the US Executive branch destabilises the whole purpose of government.

  11. There will be a frenzy of such changes in return for corporate donations to the McCain campaign and the Republican Party.

    How any American can vote to support such overt corruption is beyond me. US Republicans who do understand good ethics and integrity should be ashamed of their corrupt leaders.

  12. All the more important that Aotearoa NZ regains, strengthens and maintains “food sovereignty” for ourselves.

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