Delivering the week’s top organic food news
1.15.2020
100% Non-GMO

The EPA is Aggressively Approving Very Dangerous Pesticides


As reported by U.S. Right to Know last May, court documents showed that a domestic policy advisor at the White House said, ‘We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation.’

In a new and unsettling report from the Center for Biological Diversity, we now have confirmation that this promise is being kept.

The study, called Toxic Hangover: How the EPA Is Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Committed to Phasing Out, found that the EPA approved 1,190 pesticide products and denied only 71 in the 2017-2018 time period, giving it a 94% approval percentage.

And for the products that were denied, they were rejected largely because of procedural issues, such as minimum study or packaging requirements having not been met, rather than toxicity concerns.

The approved pesticide products include:

– 15 new products containing neurotoxic carbamates or organophosphates, including chlorpyrifos (Banned in Europe and a few U.S. states)

– 17 new products containing the endocrine disruptor atrazine (Banned in Europe)

– 6 new products containing paraquat, which is so lethal that one spoonful can kill a full-grown adult (Banned in 32 countries, including those in Europe)

– 4 new products containing the extremely dangerous airborne fumigants methyl bromide or chloropicrin (Slated for a global phase-out)

– 91 new restricted-use pesticides, which are so dangerous that they can only be applied by a professional

– 69 new products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

So, how is the EPA justifying all of these approvals?

By claiming that it is replacing and phasing out older, presumably more dangerous pesticide ingredients. However, the Center for Biological Diversity states that the agency has approved many more products with these older ingredients than products with the newer ingredients that were supposed to replace them.

“The EPA has been approving the worst of the worst, and the culture at the agency is very deferential to the pesticide industry. They don’t want to rock the boat,” said Nathan Donley, PhD, Senior Scientist and lead author of this report.

Even for consumers who eat 100% organic, they are not immune to the super-toxic pesticides being sprayed on non-organic food. 

These chemicals contaminate our soil and water, sicken farmworkers, and can drift onto organic farms and make their way into the organic food supply. After all, there is a reason that USDA certified organic brands have been increasingly seeking out 3rd-party, glyphosate-free certifications, such as Glyphosate Residue Free.

Unfortunately, Congressional efforts to curb the EPA’s rampant approval of pesticides have made very little headway, which gives organic stakeholders just another reason to be concerned.

With gratitude,

Max Goldberg, Founder

New Organic Products

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Bag-in-Box Red Wine from Our Daily Wines

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All-Purpose Fertilizer from Dr. Earth

From Dr. Earth, Life® is a true pelletized and homogenous organic all-purpose fertilizer whose nutrients are released quickly yet continue to feed for several months. It can be used on every plant in the garden.
This Week's News Items

Weekly News Summaries

First Course
Hoard's Dairyman

‘Bioengineered’ Labeling has Officially Begun

By Katelyn Allen

The USDA's National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard -- which somewhat labels GMO foods -- began on January 1st.

Yahoo!

Certified Organic Flavors Now Required in Organic Products

A final rule published by the USDA now requires the use of certified organic flavors in certified organic products when they are commercially available.

The Packer

USDA to Propose 'Game-Changing' Organic Rule Soon

By Tom Karst

While the USDA might characterize its new rule to combat fraud as "game-changing," others would classify it as "long overdue."

Second Course
Organic Farmers Association

Presidential Forum: More Candidates Weigh in on Organic

With Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg having missed last month's presidential forum in Iowa, the two candidates just sent in their positions on organic and regenerative agriculture.

Yahoo!

Califia Farms Closes $225M Round

The maker of natural and organic plant-based milks has closed a $225M Series D round, which was led by the Qatar Investment Authority.

The New Food Economy

New Government Website about GMOs Does Little to Answer Lingering Questions

By H. Claire Brown

A just-released joint USDA/FDA/EPA website about GMO regulations does not clear up the confusion about GMO-labeling or gene-edited foods.

Third Course
The Guardian

Quorn to be the First Major Brand to Introduce Carbon Labeling

By Rebecca Smithers

Though not an organic brand, Quorn is introducing something that will sure to be followed by companies in our industry -- carbon labels.

BevNet

Purity Organic Acquires Dunn’s River Brands

By Martin Caballero

Purity Organic has acquired Dunn’s River Brands, an Austin, Texas-based management company that owns iced tea brands Sweet Leaf and Tradewinds.

The Kansas City Star

The Double Life of the Fraudulent Organic Farmer from Missouri

By Mike Hendricks

A profile of Randy Constant, an organic farmer who masterminded one of the biggest and longest-running frauds in the history of American agriculture.

Euroactiv

Pesticide-Free Zones are Taking Hold in France

By Cecile Barbiere

Put into effect on January 1st, pesticide-free zones in France have angered winegrowers while civil society still considers them insufficient.


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This Week's Quick Hits

Quick Hits

* Kudos to Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America for her appearance on CBS-Los Angeles, where she talked about the health risks that GMOs and glyphosate pose to children.


* Organic Farmers Association has hired Patty Lovera, formerly of Food & Water Watch, as its new Policy Director.


* This refugee family fled Congo. In Houston, they grow organic vegetables.


* The Organic Seed Growers Conference will be held in Corvallis, Oregon from February 12-15.


* Natural & Organic Products Europe will take place on April 19-20 in London.


* The iconic Eliot Coleman on successful organic farming.


* Alice Waters and other Bay Area chefs are lending their talents to a Pete Buttigieg fundraiser.


* Flowers Foods will spend $25 million to convert its 40-year-old bakery in Virginia into an all-organic facility.


* No more coffins — these organic burial pods will turn bodies into trees.


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