Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Like Strawberries? Help Fight Methyl Iodide in California

The conventional strawberry, already one of the most risky fruits or vegetables to eat, is on the verge of becoming even more dangerous, thanks to a recent ruling by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

According to a news release from Californians for Pesticide Reform, Pesticide Watch and Pesticide Action Network (PAN):
"Ignoring the assessments of top US scientists and its own Scientific Review Committee, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced its approval today for use of methyl iodide, a potent carcinogen and water contaminant, in the state’s strawberry fields."
Considering that 90 percent of the strawberries in this country are grown in California and many people cannot afford organic strawberries, we should all be concerned.

How did this happen?

According to a blog post by Kathryn Gilje, PAN’s Executive Director, blame can be placed on:
"[T]he intense lobbying effort waged by Arysta LifeScience, [the] largest private pesticide company in the world, who hired a Kentucky-based PR firm to create a '[California] grassroots campaign' . . . Bluntly put: chemical company interests trumped the science and the concerns of Californians. Now we've all got an incredibly potent, new carcinogen to deal with while Arysta heads home to its headquarters and makes money off its sales."
New York and Washington have previously rejected methyl iodide on the state level. Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the press release, “will open a public comment period on the pesticide’s approval due to the ‘complexity of the issues raised and the public interest in methyl iodide.’”

Don’t think our voices are heard in the current stagnant political climate? Click here to quickly send a form letter to California Governor-Elect Jerry Brown letting him know we oppose the use of methyl iodide on California’s strawberries.


Chef Dad said...

I really like your blog. My wife and I have always loved to cook. But, we got more interested in the issues you raise here when we discovered our son had a food allergy and then investigated further to see that having only one food allergy is increasingly lucky.

Similar to your syrup post, I keep an old bottle of soy sauce in the pantry and refuse to throw it out so i can explain to people that even though the label says it is "naturally brewed" that is a lie and you can tell from the ingredients.

Chef Rob said...

Chef Dad,

Thanks for reading and I'm happy to hear you enjoy the blog.

Yes, only one allergy is lucky. What have we wrought?!?

Thanks for mentioning the soy sauce; you reminded me that I have to write a post about an organic, unpasteurized soy sauce I recently bought. It is unbelievable. I'll write about it next week.


Anonymous said...

Actually, New York and Washington did not reject registrations for methyl iodide...the applicant looked at the markets and withdrew a request for registration in Washington and never submitted one in New York since there would be no crops on which it might be used and registration is a time-consuming, costly matter regardless of the product.

Also, while it is true that over 90 percent of strawberries are grown in California, 98% of all the strawberry nursery starts in the WORLD are grown in California, and virtually 100% of them are grown using soil fumigation. The state has a zero-tolerance for soil nematodes on these (and other plants), and without fumigation, meeting that standard is impossible. Even the organic growers use fumigated strawberry starts.