Minnesota Farmer


Perspective

It’s all in your perspective.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is out with their list of the foods most likely to contain pesticide residue, their “Dirty Dozen+.”  In the list they caution consumers about eating these foods because of the pesticides that you will find on this produce.  No mention is made of the dosage of pesticides found nor of the source of these pesticides.  You are told that pesticides are wrong at any dose.

At the same time the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proclaims no concern about the use of pesticides on our food.  They do quantify their data, show levels of pesticides found and number of cases found.  The USDA does recognize that some pesticides may cause problems, but they back up their data with numbers that show when we should be getting concerned.  The USDA says we are a long ways away from needing to worry about pesticide danger in our produce.

Who do you believe?  I vote for science over scare.  So much of the EWG data is designed to scare you and get you to make a donation to their work.  They pick out tiny bits of data, expand it from might to will, and extrapolate the dangers from mega doses to the micro dosages found.  The EWG also glosses over the naturally occurring pesticides found is such things as potatoes, a food on their list.  Again, they will get no support unless you are scared.

We too often find ourselves worried about dangers that, when put into perspective, are not an issue.  Here’s another case of perspective.  What’s more dangerous to humans, sharks, wolves or mosquitoes?biggestkillers_final_v8_no-logoWhoa!  Didn’t see that one coming did you?  Mosquitoes kill almost twice the number of people as other people do.  Sharks and wolves are not even a blip on the map.  It is so easy to be scared of the big, misunderstood shark or the lurking wolf and not the tiny mosquito.  I think that is the same thing we have with pesticides.  We do not understand them, so we fear them.

As a farmer, I use pesticides.  I do not use them lightly.  I do, however, understand them.  I get certified to apply them to my crops.  I am charged with using them in a manner that will not harm either myself or those around me.  It is my job, and if I do not do my job, I face some heavy fines.

We in agriculture are serious about keeping your food safe.  Misuse of pesticides is dangerous to us and to those who eat what we produce.  I encourage you to trust those who are producing what you eat.  We have made it our life’s work to do what is best for you.

Michael

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