"Ladies and gentlemen, in the red and yellow corner, McDonald's, with an annual marketing budget comparable to a small country's GDP, used primarily to sicken the population and the environment! And in the green corner, White Earth Pesticide Action Network (WEPAN), a group of people on the front lines of pesticide exposure where the potatoes are actually grown."
McDonald's has launched a new video marketing campaign to help romanticize its product. Several farmers who supply the fast food giant with ingredients are highlighted, including Frank Martinez, who grows potatoes.
Here’s the video (click here to watch if you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email), which, of course, never mentions the pesticides needed to grow non-organic potatoes on a large scale. In McDonald's view, it's all about "the right amount of water, rich soil and, in Frank's case, a lifetime of experience."
But there's also another side to the McDonald's potato story (not involving Martinez), courtesy of WEPAN. Personally, I'm believin' it!
"Members of the Pine Point community have been battling an industrial potato farmer, Ron D. Offut, over pesticide drift affecting the air and drinking water on the White Earth Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.
"Offut, dubbed 'the Lord of the Fries,' owns or leases more than 11,000 acres of land adjacent to Pine Point village. His company, RDO Holdings, harvests 1.8 billion pounds of potatoes annually, most of which are sold to McDonald's to produce French fries.
"RDO Holdings is the leading sprayer of pesticides in the region - including several likely human carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
"WEPAN has worked for more than a decade to lessen the spraying of pesticides by RDO Holdings, or even to be notified when sprayings are happening. So far RDO Holdings has refused to change their practices.
"Community members from Pine Point worked with Pesticide Action Network (PAN) scientists to monitor the pesticides drifting from potato farms into the elementary school and other sensitive sites using the Drift Catcher technology developed by PAN. Their results found the air contaminated with the fungicide Chlorothalonil at 123 of 186 test sites in and around Pine Point. Chlorothalonil is a 'PAN Bad Actor' pesticide that is both acutely toxic and a known carcinogen."