In the brave new world of bio-tech agriculture, the big pesticide/herbicide makers have argued for years that their genetic seed inventions would reduce the use of chemicals.
It made sense, to argue for that. Almost everyone agrees that our health and the environment would benefit from reduced pesticide use. And Americans react strongly when they find their food has been compromised by chemicals. Think of the Alar apple scare, or the more recent outcry over strawberries doused with methyl iodide, a fumigant suspected of causing cancer.
Chemical companies tapped into citizen concern about pesticides by promising they could engineer corn and soybeans to resist certain “safer” chemicals, such as Monsanto’s Roundup. That would reduce environmental harm and give farmers a break, because they could use Roundup whenever they wanted without fear of harming their crops. They’d get higher yields with little downside, because the Roundup would biodegrade, and America would feed the world….
By Shermakaye Bass
In light of recent European bans of a pesticide linked to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), at least one key bee expert is calling for a ban of the same pesticide in the United States.
“In the United States, drastic action is needed,” says Canadian geneticist Joe Cummins, explaining that U.S. farmers and beekeepers shouldn’t have to wait for more evidence or for an air-tight explanation for the complex syndrome, which threatens one in every third bite of food in the United States. Now most apiarists and scientists realize that pesticides are a factor in CCD, he says.
Cummins’ remarks, in an interview with GreenRightNow, come less than a month after Germany’s ban of clothianidin, a pesticide commonly used to keep insects off of corn crops. Germany banned the pesticide after heaps of dead bees were found near fields of corn coated in the pesticide, and in response to scientists who report that the insecticide severely impairs, and often kills, the honeybees that corn and other crops depend on for pollination.