Friday, June 3, 2011

Produce Growers Deepen Bond with Pesticide Makers

A recent editorial in The Packer, the trade publication of record for the industry, stated:

"The industry can’t win, but it should still fight. The worst response would be no response. The truth may be unpleasant, and counterintuitive, but eating fresh produce, with trace levels of pesticides, is indeed healthy. Consumers should fill half their plate with it."

"It became even more obvious to us that the produce industry wants to keep information about the harmful effects of pesticides out of the hands of the public after we read U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman Michael Jarvis’ response in the Chicago Tribune newspaper to the unusual delay of the release of this year’s pesticide data report."

"In October of last year, a contingent of leading produce organizations met with top officials of the USDA, EPA and FDA to discuss the impending annual release of pesticide test data by the agriculture department. As one participant explained to The Packer: “The objective in the initial organizational meeting was that we want to see if we can figure out that whatever data is out there be less likely to be misconstrued and misinterpreted,” said Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce. “We’re trying to make sure that anyone who reads that PDP (Pesticide Data Program) report sees — as do all the people in the room (Oct. 19) — that there is no risk associated with the consumption of fresh produce due to pesticide residues.”"

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