Consumers Union Report/ Growers Can Produce Safer Food, Current Insecticide Use on Food Kids Eat Most 'Troubling'

Copyright 1998 U.S. Newswire
September 9, 1998

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, will issue a new report on Monday, Sept. 14, showing that troubling insecticides now found on the foods kids eat most could be substantially reduced or even eliminated if farmers who manage pests with high-risk insecticides adopted safer alternatives.

The report, "WORST FIRST: High-Risk Insecticides, Children's Foods and Safer Alternatives", will include specific alternatives and combinations of tactics farmers can use today to reduce their use of high-risk pesticides on the nine fruits and vegetables that are the most popular in kids' diets. The foods under review include apples, pears, peaches, grapes, oranges, green beans, peas, potatoes and tomatoes.

The report's findings will help focus implementation of a new 1996 food safety law which requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pesticide residues in the diet more effectively to ensure their safety for children, according to Consumers Union. The week of the report's release coincides with the last round of meetings of an inter-agency group advising the agency on what to do next.

Consumers Union is expected to use this report to ask the EPA to eliminate or highly restrict 40 distinct insecticide uses on nine fruit and vegetable crops that, together, likely account for a very large fraction of kids' overall dietary insecticide risk. (States that are the leading producers of these fruits and vegetables are California, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin.)

The briefing will be led by Edward Groth III, Ph.D., director, technical policy and public service at Consumers Union; Jeannine Kenney, policy analyst at CU's Washington, D.C., office; and Chuck Benbrook, Ph.D., a CU consultant who specializes in pest management systems. The report's authors say their findings clearly debunk the agri-chemical industry's scare campaign, which has spread fear that growers can't get along without high-risk pesticides, consumers face future food shortages and American agriculture will lose its competitive edge on the world market if the law moves forward

RSVP by noon on Friday, Sept. 11, before to reserve a seat. Light refreshments will be served. To obtain a schedule of future Consumer Front Lines briefings by Consumers Union call 202-238-9258 and request document no. 3109. To obtain a list of the 14 states that are high producers of these crops request document no. 3110.

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