USDA Stop Funding Pro-Pesticide Groups
The Alliance for Food and Farming is a California trade association which set up a website called SafeFruitandVeggies.com, “a source for science based information about pesticide residues.” The site is an advertisement for pesticides. Sourcewatch describes the Alliance as a “front group for the fruit and vegetable industry” which claims that a number of pesticides are safe. The claims on the Alliance’s website are backed up by scientists such as Dr. Penny Fenner-Crisp, who worked for the International Life Sciences Institute, which receives funding by corporations industrial agriculture corporations ConAgra and Archer Daniels Midland.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave a $180,000 grant to the Alliance last fall. The money came from California’s $17.5 million portion of the USDA’s Specialty Crops Block Grant program, set up by Congress in 2004.
The Environmental Working Group sent a petition this week to the USDA with over 50,000 signatures objecting to the department’s grant to the Alliance. The money came from California’s $17.5 million portion of the USDA’s Specialty Crops Block Grant program, set up by Congress in 2004.
The Alliance for Food and Farming said in September it will use the grant for “correcting misconceptions about pesticide residues.” The Alliance also said that “claims by activist groups about unsafe levels of pesticides have been widely reported in the media for many years, but have largely gone uncontested.” For that reason, the Alliance set up the website, SafeFruitandVeggies, with the goal to “generate more balanced media reporting and change public perception about the safety of produce when it comes to pesticide residues.”
“We have rarely seen such a strong response from our supporters,” EWG President Ken Cook said. “More people are signing this petition by the hour, but we want to communicate immediately to USDA that these government data belong to everyone, not just to the industry.”
Photo from the justified sinner via flickr