Frontline Communities

McDonald's claims that their potatoes are produced sustainably, but rural residents in central Minnesota know differently: pesticide drift from potato fields is a major problem.

California residents only! Help us urge California's leaders to get kid-harming pesticides off the table.

Emily Marquez's picture

"There's a perception that drift happens." That's what I heard an industry rep say when I listened in on a Kaua'i County Council meeting on pesticide issues last summer (before the landmark Bill 2491 passed). A perception of drift? Really?

If you've been following our work here at PAN you already know that pesticide drift is a problem. On-the-ground data from across the country leaves no question that drift happens — and that people in rural communities are being harmed. But did you know there's more than one kind? It's true. And right now, EPA is reviewing how to best assess the risks of the "other" kind of drift: volatilization.

Lex Horan's picture

McDonald’s held its annual general meeting (AGM) last Thursday. If shareholders wanted a quiet meeting, they sure didn't get it! The company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, was packed: 2,000 fast-food workers, clergy, parents and food system activists poured into town with a thing or two to say to McDonald’s.

The Minnesota-based Toxic Taters Coalition — a longtime partner of PAN — was one of several groups with a message to deliver to the fast-food giant. Toxic Taters delivered a petition with more than 20,000 signatures, calling on McDonald’s to cut pesticide use on potatoes, work with a third party certifier to transition to sustainable practices, increase transparency about pesticide use and fund a public health study in areas impacted by potato production.

Irma Medellin's picture

Pesticides are an everyday part life in our town. Sometimes we can see or smell the drifting chemicals, sometimes they are invisible. But we know they are there — especially in the fall when fields are fumigated, and this time of year when new plants are sprayed.

So I wasn't surprised when health officials released a report last week showing that children in our part of California — the Central Valley — are most likely to be in schools near pesticide-sprayed fields. We've been telling our stories for years, and unfortunately policymakers haven't heard us. As a mom, I'm very much hoping that maybe now we will see some change.