Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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Almond joy! - Victory for bees

With little fanfare, pesticide manufacturer Bayer has asked California regulators to limit the use of one of their most profitable products, imidacloprid.

Rather than undergo the public scrutiny and cost involved in a state-mandated re-evaluation of the pesticide's impact on bees, emerging reports say the company has requested imidacloprid be restricted from use on almond crops, which honey bees are trucked in from around the country to pollinate each February.

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Genetically engineered Thanksgiving? No thanks.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate all that sustains us and brings us together, wouldn't it be nice to know whether the ingredients we're chopping, mixing and roasting have been genetically engineered?

Up to 80% of non-organic food on our shelves contains a GE ingredient. We don't know which of our foods are engineered though, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require labeling. Pushed onto the market by big agribusiness corporations like Monsanto, GE products are hidden in plain sight.

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Speaking truth about tomatoes

The out-of-season tomato. It's beautiful to behold, tastes of cardboard and holds questionable nutritional value. And according to food writer Barry Estabrook, it embodies much of what's wrong with industrial agriculture. 

PAN sat down with Estabrook and spoke to him about how he got interested in the unsavory story of winter tomatoes from Florida, and what he learned. Estabrook's initial research on tomatoes for Gourmet Magazine evolved into the powerfully compelling story he tells in his recent book: Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.

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Panel finds EPA lowballing atrazine/cancer link

Atrazine is in the news yet again, as a panel of independent scientists call into question EPA's conclusion that the widely used herbicide is "not likely to be a human carcinogen."

For several specific cancers — including ovarian, thyroid and non-Hodgkins lymphoma — there is clear "suggestive evidence" linking atrazine exposure to increased cancer risk, according to a recently released report. Citing these and other new findings, thousands of concerned citizens across the country are calling on EPA to follow the science, and discount misleading science sponsored by atrazine's maker, the Syngenta corporation.

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Simmering in strawberry country

Despite the cooler weather, things are simmering in California’s strawberry country this week. Santa Cruz County passed a unanimous resolution against methyl iodide on Tuesday, and other local governments are also stepping up in the effort to ban the cancer-causing pesticide.

But pesticide manufacturers and fumigant applicators aren’t taking the news sitting down; they’re doing everything in their power to hold back the tide of safe strawberry farming.

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Dangerous rat poison still on shelves

Back in 2008, EPA declared that certain pesticide products designed to kill rats pose an “unreasonable risk” to children, pets and wildlife. Agency officials recommended these products be pulled from the market immediately. So they should have disappeared from store shelves long ago, right?

Wrong. Sadly, the national law governing pesticides (including rat poisons) is so old, weak and cumbersome that EPA chose to politely ask companies manufacturing these products to recall them, rather than set in motion an official ban. Some companies complied, but others did not. And today, children across the country are still at risk.

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Occupy Oakland, Occupy Food

On Wednesday, PAN joined the ever-growing Occupy movement in Oakland and the supermajority of Americans frustrated with corporate control of finances, homes and yes — food.

PAN and partners — including Californians for Pesticide Reform and Food & Water Watch — carved out a space among the thousands of concerned people gathered in Downtown Oakland to discuss the challenges posed by our corporate-controlled food and farming system.

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No more secret atrazine science

For over a year, PAN has been watching EPA’s long-overdue review of atrazine, a common herbicide and potent endocrine disruptor. From the outset we've called for reliance on science not funded by industry – and we've been disappointed. Of the roughly 25 health-related studies submitted for the review's final session, 10 were not available to the public and exempt from the rigors of peer review. These 10 ‘secret’ studies were also industry-funded.

Now the agency is accepting comments on a new petition to pull the use of atrazine, a petition that points to misleading industry-funded science as the basis for keeping this widely used herbicide on the market.

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Food Justice: Honoring our Roots & Growing the Movement

Join us at the Food Security 15th Annual Conference in Oakland from November 4-8. The conference will be held at the Oakland Marriott, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA.

This year’s conference theme is Food Justice: Honoring our Roots, Growing the Movement. Register now for 5 exciting and inspiring days of field trips, plenary presentations, hands-on workshops, “food movies,” prize ceremonies and more. 

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Protests grow over Dow Olympics sponsorship

Victims of the 1984 Bhopal pesticide plant explosion are working with British Members of Parliament, Amnesty International and others to expose and oppose sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics by Dow Chemical Company. Dow has been denying liability for cleanup of the Bhopal site and reparations for victims and their survivors ever since it bought the plant’s former owner, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), in 2001.

 “The company's name will be emblazoned on the £7m artwork 'wrap' around the main stadium, guaranteeing months of exposure,” according to the UK Independent. Dow and UCC are defendants in a litigation case in India for clean-up of the Bhopal pesticide factory site.

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