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The pro-pesticide lobby

(article, Culinate staff)

For decades — going back at least as far as Rachel Carson and her seminal book Silent Spring — American consumers have worried about pesticides. They're bad to inhale and bad to eat. Which is why authors such as Cindy Burke (To Buy or Not to Buy Organic) and groups such as the Environmental Working Group (the Dirty Dozen shopper's guide) have, for years, helped folks figure out which foods are pesticide-laden and which are less so.

But Big Ag is fighting back, with a campaign to convince consumers that pesticides really aren't so bad. As Sarah Laskow reported earlier this month on Grist, "Industry groups are writing to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to ask him to publish data about pesticide residue with context explaining that the amount of pesticides found on their products really isn't that big of a deal."

The EWG isn't pleased, and is asking supporters to sign a petition telling the USDA to stop supporting the pro-pesticide crowd. 

What's at stake, besides the issue of tax dollars being spent to misinform consumers? Well, the EWG relies on the USDA's pesticide analyses to produce its Dirty Dozen list, and is concerned that the USDA may be less forthcoming about its science in the future. This year, says the group, the analyses have already been delayed by four months.