Reclaiming the future of food and farming


Pesticide Action Network's picture

Syngenta takes aim at EU's neonic ban


Last week, Syngenta filed a legal challenge against the European Union's decision to suspend use of its pesticide, thiamethoxam. At the heart of the challenge? Syngenta says their product is wrongly accused of contributing to bee declines.

But the independent science detailing harm to bees from this and other pesticides is clear. And earlier this year, after reviewing the evidence for themselves, European policymakers determined that three widely used neonicotinoids — including thiamethoxam — pose a "high acute risk" to honey bees. Still, the pesticide corporation is protesting. Vehemently.

Pesticide Actio...
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Whose World Food Prize?

Last month, the 2013 World Food Prize was bestowed on Monsanto and Syngenta in recognition of their development of genetically engineered seed technologies. The news shocked the sustainable food and farming community — driving farmers, people’s movement leaders, reknowned scientists and development experts the world over to express their outrage and dismay.

Many excellent responses blasting the decision have been published (here, here and here). Perhaps the most powerful rebuke came from 81 laureates of the Right Livelihood Award and members of the prestigious World Food Council, who shredded the Prize organizers’ argument that GE seeds are feeding the world.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Atrazine in water costs Syngenta

Pesticide giant Syngenta kicked off 2013 by writing checks to communities whose water supplies have been contaminated with their endocrine-disrupting herbicide, atrazine.

According to the Associated Press, the money will go to community water systems that serve more than 37 million Americans in all, mostly in farming states — including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio — where atrazine has been commonly used to control weeds in corn fields.

Pesticide Actio...
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Syngenta's shopping spree not limited to Black Friday

Over last week’s Thanksgiving holiday, many Americans will have paused to savor the blessings of health, family and community. Some of us will have binged on too much turkey and consumption-crazed Black Friday sales. But for the world’s biggest pesticide and seed biotech companies, the entire year has been one long feeding frenzy. This frenzy culminated in recent months in a multi-billion dollar spending spree in which, reports Bloomberg, three of the "Big 6" pesticide companies (Syngenta, Bayer and BASF) together shelled out over two billion dollars to acquire biopesticide and other “green product” companies.  

Concerns over corporate "greenwashing" notwithstanding, the larger issue here is a new frontier of market-making and corporate consolidation from the people who brought us "DDT is good for me" commercials. 

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Kathryn Gilje's picture

Syngenta settles, but atrazine Kool-Aid still strong

On May 25, Syngenta settled the lawsuit brought against them by water systems across the country, agreeing to pay more than $100 million to clean up contamination with their endocrine-disrupting pesticide atrazine. Former Chief Justice Michael Wolff of the Missouri Supreme Court called the settlement a remarkable achievement that will have far-reaching impact on the safety and quality of public drinking water.

This lawsuit is a hard-fought, symbolic victory. To make it mean more, we need policy protections and we need Syngenta lobbyists to let scientists and government officials do their jobs.

Kathryn Gilje
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Syngenta's atrazine PR campaign unveiled

From attacks on independent scientists to smear campaigns against the courts, we thought we’d seen it all from Syngenta. But the world’s largest agrichemical producer continues to lower the bar in its efforts to protect its flagship product, atrazine.

New documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy reveal the details of Syngenta’s multimillion dollar “message management” campaign for atrazine. Their tactics? Muddy the science, manipulate public perception, and prevent a clear, independent scientific review.

Pesticide Actio...
Kathryn Gilje's picture

Occupy the Pesticide Industry!

There are two things that PAN and Occupy hold deeply in common: (1) We know that corporate control of our government, economy and food system undermines our attempts to push forward real change. And (2) As government has failed to rein in the corporate occupation of our food and farms, we believe we must hold them to account ourselves. And so we move forward. PAN will bring the Big 6 pesticide corporations to rigorous, public trial on December 3, 2011 in Bangalore, India.

I will be there, testifying and reporting from the ground, alongside hundreds of others from the 99% —  farmers, farmworkers and scientists who feed our world. I hope to see you engaged and active, too. 

Kathryn Gilje
Kristin Schafer's picture

Atrazine review is a much needed 'do-over'

Seventy-six million. U.S. farms are doused with that many pounds of the herbicide atrazine every year. That's a lot of any chemical — and scientists link this one to birth defects, infertility and the "chemical castration" of frogs.

Next week, EPA's science advisors will wrap up a 2-year process of rethinking atrazine, based on the latest studies of its health and environmental harms. People across the country will be watching closely to see just what happens next. So, without a doubt, will the Syngenta corporation.

Kristin Schafer
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

"Golden Rice," or Trojan Horse?

Farmers, Indigenous people and rural communities around the world celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity last week. But casting a long shadow was the news that big funders and new NGOs are teaming up with the pesticide-biotech giant, Syngenta, in a renewed effort to push genetically engineered rice forward in Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Nicknamed “golden rice,” this untested, highly controversial GE crop threatens biodiversity across the region and risks bringing economic and ecological disaster to Asia’s farms. 

Karl Tupper's picture

Syngenta's plan to smear the justice system

In 2004, a group of public utilities in Illinois took pesticide-giant Syngenta to court to answer for the pollution caused by its flagship herbicide atrazine. Syngenta’s response? Wage a PR campaign against the court itself. While transforming a lawsuit into a media spectacle is a common, if unfortunate, tactic these days, targeting the court itself is a new low.

Karl Tupper