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.