FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 29, 2015
Toxic Taters & Pesticide Action Network call for reductions in hazardous pesticides as RD Offutt, Syngenta team up for bees
On June 29, potato giant RD Offutt Company (RDO) announced that the company has planted 600 new acres of pollinator habitat among its 60,000 acres of potato production. RDO created the new habitat in partnership with Syngenta, the world’s largest pesticide manufacturer and a leading producer of pesticides known to be harmful to honey bee and pollinator health.
In response to RDO’s announcement, organizer Lex Horan of Pesticide Action Network said:
“As the crisis continues for Minnesota’s honey bees and pollinators, it’s encouraging to see RDO publicly acknowledge its responsibility as a major landowner by planting pollinator habitat. Unfortunately, RDO’s plan misses a key piece of the puzzle: pesticides, including chemicals commonly used in potato production, are a driving factor in bee decline. Insecticides like neonicotinoids impair bees’ navigation, foraging and reproduction. Fungicide exposure makes bees more susceptible to the parasite Nosema. 600 acres of habitat is a good start, but until RDO changes its pesticide use on the other 59,400 acres, we can’t expect much relief for bees.”
Amy Mondloch, coordinator of the Toxic Taters Coalition, said:
“Planting wildflowers is a step. It’s good to see RDO doing something. We’ll see in a few years if it’s made an impact. But, we’re counting on them as a leader in the industry to lead the way by taking serious action. Tell the public what chemicals they’re using. Cut their pesticide use. Fund studies to measure and find solutions for the damage done to the environment and human health around the potato fields. That will show the public they really care about sustainability.”
Pesticide Action Network North America works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network.
Toxic Taters is a grassroots community group working toward healthy and sustainable potato production in central and northern Minnesota.