Media/News Archive

EPA Mulls Ban on Nation’s Most Heavily Used Insecticide

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Salon
by Paul Koberstein

Source: UNDP

Numerous studies show Chlorpyrifos causes serious harm to children, but some farmworkers consider it indispensable

Scott Krogstad grows soybeans and sugar beets in the heart of the Red River Valley near Grand Forks, North Dakota. Like most sugar beet farmers in the Midwest, he wages a difficult war with the unpredictable infestations of the sugar beet root maggot. The maggot, the larva of a small two-winged fly, can completely sever the roots from a beet with its hooked mouth.

Meanwhile, a thousand miles away in fruit orchards near Provo, Utah, farmer Alan Riley fights off the San Jose scale, an aphid-like insect that sucks sap from his apple, peach, and cherry trees. It can turn apples from red to purple around feeding sites and result in small, deformed fruit.

Despite their many miles of separation, Krogstad and Riley have one key thing in common with each other and countless farmers across the country. They view the insecticide chlorpyrifos as indispensable in their respective battles with bugs. So naturally, they, and many other farmers are dismayed with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal to ban chlorpyrifos because of the pesticide’s impact on the health of children and farmworkers who come in contact with it. Read Full Article »

With Zika Virus, Widespread Pesticide Spraying Not the Long-Term Solution, says Entomologist

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Beyond Pesticides

Aedes aegypti
Source: James Gathany

Speaking to The Guardian, a leading Kenyan entomologist warns that spraying pesticides will fail to deal with the Zika virus. Just recently the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a public health emergency over growing concerns that the virus is linked with microcephaly. Aerial and ground applications of pesticides have long been used for mosquito control, but many believe that these methods fail to sufficiently control mosquito populations, promote resistance and kill other species that would have acted as a natural predator to mosquitoes.

Dino Martins, PhD, a Kenyan entomologist in an interview with The Guardian said that while pesticides can reduce the population of flying adult mosquitoes that transmit the virus, they will fail to deal with the epidemic that threatens to become a global pandemic, and warns that spraying landscapes is extremely dangerous.  “It is a quick fix but you pay for it. You kill other species that would have predated on the mosquitoes. You also create a mosaic of sprayed and unsprayed low densities of chemicals that fosters the rapid evolution of resistance.” Read Full Article »

FDA Bans Imports of Genetically Engineered Salmon — For Now

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

The Washington Post
by Brady Dennis

AquaBounty Salmon
Source: Prachatai

Genetically engineered salmon won’t be hitting U.S. dinner tables anytime soon. Two months after federal regulators approved the nation’s first genetically engineered salmon for human consumption, the Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued a ban on the import and sale of the fish until the agency can publish guidelines for how it should be labeled.

The FDA’s action was prompted by language in a sprawling federal spending bill passed by Congress recently, which instructed regulators to forbid the sale of genetically engineered salmon until the agency finalizes rules about how it should be labeled — a process that potentially could take years. Read Full Article »

Following an Email Trail: How a Public University Professor Collaborated on a Corporate PR Campaign

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

U.S. Right to Know
by Carey Gillam

Bruce Chassy
Source: University of Illinois

Former University of Illinois food science professor Bruce Chassy is known for his academic gravitas. Now retired nearly four years, Chassy still writes and speaks often about food safety issues, identifying himself with the full weight of the decades of experience earned at the public university and as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. Chassy tells audiences that before he retired in 2012, he worked “full time” doing research and teaching.

What Chassy doesn’t talk much about is the other work he did while at the University of Illinois – promoting the interests of Monsanto Co., which has been trying to overcome mounting public concerns about the genetically engineered crops and chemicals the company sells. He also doesn’t talk much about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Monsanto donated to the university as Chassy was helping promote GMOs, or Monsanto’s secretive role in helping Chassy set up a nonprofit group and website to criticize individuals and organizations who raise questions about GMOs. Read Full Article »

Sikkim is India’s First Organic State

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Organic-Market.info

Traditional Meal in Sikkim, India
Source: ButForTheSky.com

All of Sikkim’s farmland has been certified organic under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) regulations by the end of 2015. “Sikkim has already achieved that feat of living in harmony with nature, and is therefore a model of development which also protects nature,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

Under NPOP guidelines and the government program Sikkim Organic Mission, it took 12 years to convert the Himalayan state into the first 100 % organic state of India, eliminating pesticides, chemical fertilizers and GMOs, and working closely with the local ecosystem to preserve biodiversity and prevent erosion.

Sikkim’s organic mission started in 2003, when its Chief Minister Pawan Chamling declared his intent to make Sikkim India’s first organic state. Chamling has been reelected five times, so he was able to oversee the entire process. First, the state officially banned the sale of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, forcing its farmers to go organic. And it ran a number of events like a two-day workshop in March 2010 where organic experts and scientists advised farmers on making the transition. But Sikkim’s organic switch is not just good for public health; it’s also good for the economy as organic produce has higher profit margins for farmers, reports the Huffington Post. Read Full Article »