In case you missed it, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently handed over $180,000 in cold hard cash to the Alliance For Food and Farming. Why? So that said Alliance could launch a massive campaign meant to educate consumers on the safety of pesticides.
In any case, as you might expect, not everyone is on board with so called pesticide safety, let alone spending 180,000 flippin’ dollars to promote it. 50 groups have just joined together to get this money revoked. A letter, organized by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Californians for Pesticide Reform, addressed to CDFA Secretary A. G. Kawamura and Alfred G. Montna, president of the California Board of Food and Agriculture, asks the CDFA and USDA to “retract this award and take action to ensure that future grant-making serves the interests of all Californians.”
Also noted in the letter…
“Pesticide residues are a genuine problem: both peer-reviewed literature and the USDA food residue test database have found them on many conventionally-grown foods. Scientists have expressed valid concerns about the health risks posed by some of these chemicals. It is inappropriate for state and federal officials to categorically take the side of conventional agribusiness in this scientific and policy debate by funding a public relations effort designed to attack public interest organizations.”
The Alliance For Food and Farming has not commented on this as of yet, but if you check out their website, you’ll see that they too have concerns about pesticides. Although they’re claiming that pesticides are safe enough for consumers, they’ve got a Spray Safe program in place. Well, not really a program, but a lovely checklist (pdf) that’s supposed to help better protect consumers and everyone from harmful pesticides. The checklist is laughable at best and basically asks that pesticide sprayers know their neighbors and watch out for wind issues before spraying. That’s interesting, because as I’m sure you know, Mother Nature is oh so predictable.
Hopefully this new EWG-based group will get somewhere with their letter and campaign. Maybe we’ll get that money back and it can be sunk into a program that helps, not harms consumers.