GroundTruth Blog

GroundTruth: PAN's blog on pesticides, food & health

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

The Iowa Senate is considering a state law that would criminalize the reporting of abusive conditions at animal or crop operations.

Several citizen and food transparency groups in Iowa have opposed the law, which they have dubbed the "Whistle Blower Suppression Bill" and the "Ag Gag Bill." Strong support for the measure is coming from multinational corporations like Monsanto and Dupont, as well as statewide organizations like the Iowa Poultry Association. 

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

There are many, many reasons that Dow's new strain of corn that's genetically engineered to withstand high doses of the herbicide 2,4-D is a terrible idea.

Since 2,4-D has been around for so long, there's plenty of evidence about how it can harm human health. Children, as usual, are most at risk, and USDA needs to know that ramping up use of 2,4-D in fields across the country is simply not acceptable.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

On Tuesday, one of the world’s largest pesticide and biotech companies — Monsanto Corporation — held its annual general meeting in St. Louis. While protestors outside Monsanto headquarters highlighted growing public disenchantment with the industry giant and its genetically engineered products, investors in the meeting were voting on a shareholder resolution from PAN and Harrington Investments.

If passed, the resolution would require Monsanto to report on all financial risks and impacts, including contamination of neighboring crops, associated with its GE/pesticide seed package.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

More than 80% of the non-organic products in our pantries include genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Turns out, that even includes bourbon.

As Grist reported last week, GE corn  — also known as genetically modified, or GMO — has made its way into our liquor cabinets: "Bourbon gives us an interesting window into GMO grain because the spirit must by definition be made with at least 51 percent corn." Since about 85% of the corn in the U.S. is grown from genetically engineered seed, most bourbon is now made from GE corn.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

As the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring approaches, the purveyors of Monsanto & Co’s falsehoods are out in full force.

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)  — a front group for the pesticide industry — held a briefing last week, announcing a new report extolling the virtues of pesticides to federal legislators. If this is where our decisionmakers are getting their information, we're in trouble.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

As frost silvers the still-green grass outside, and I take advantage of the mild Berkeley winter to sow a small cover crop in my garden, I’m reminded that winter is a precious time of renewal and regeneration: not only in the soil and on our farms, but also within our communities and our minds.

Along those lines, I’ve been enjoying the very mind-enriching experience of reading a fascinating new book from the UK-based International Institute for Environmental Development. The forward-thinking authors of Virtuous Circles: Values, Systems and Sustainability (Michel Pimbert, Janice Jiggins and Andy Jones) take a fresh look at what we need to do to survive and thrive in the coming century.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

Last week the giant German pesticide and biotech company (and largest chemical company in the world), BASF, announced its decision to pack up and flee Europe.

Why? For 13 years, ordinary Europeans have stood firm in challenging the right of biotech companies to dump their risky genetically engineered (GE) seeds onto their fields and have steadfastly rejected the intrusion of GE foods onto their plates. They built up an informed and powerful citizens’ movement that has made itself heard, even over the din of the monied GE lobby. For this, hearty congratulations are due to our cousins across the Atlantic!

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Two years ago, on January 21, 2010, a Supreme Court panel that included ex-Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas made a decision that has since changed the face of election campaigning. The landmark ruling in Citizens United v. FEC declared corporations to be people and, under the guise of the First Amendment, permitted the pumping of unlimited amounts of corporate money into politics, opening the floodgates for a corporate buyout of democracy. The decision, which undid over a century of campaign finance reform, passed 5-4. Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas provided the critical vote.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

When I worked in Kenya many years ago, I visited a small farm where they processed chrysanthemums for use as a natural pest killer. I vividly remember the powerful, not unpleasant smell rising from the mesh shelves where the flowers were drying in the sun.

You'd think a pesticide based on flowers would be harmless, right? The promoters of synthetic pyrethroids — which mimic the natural pyrethrum extracted from chrysanthemums — certainly want us to think so. But once again, the latest batch of "safer" pesticides are not as harmless as we thought, and pose particular risks to children. Unfortunately, EPA seems to be turning a blind eye to emerging evidence, and is poised to open the floodgates to more pyrethroid products and uses.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

The online journal PLoS One released two bee studies last week: one on an old parasite newly found in honey bees, the other confirming that bees are being poisoned by the controversial pesticide clothianidin in and around the 88 million acres of U.S. countryside planted with treated corn seeds.