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Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Chemical Companies Play Victim to Escape Pesticide Oversight

Food Integrity Campaign | July 23, 2014

If you’re concerned about genetically engineered (GE) food and their impact, then you should be concerned about what’s happening in Kauai. Get this: the giant chemical companies in Kauai – the ones that spray pesticides year-round on their GE crops – are now actually playing the victim card. Really, biotechs? Everybody knows it’s the local community that has been devastated by your shameful industry practices.

Today a federal court judge in Honolulu will hear oral arguments in relation to Big Biotech’s lawsuit seeking to block implementation of Kauai County’s new pesticide law. FIC continues to support both the law and local groups pushing for more transparency and accountability around chemical companies’ year-round spraying near sensitive public areas (such as schools and waterways).

According to the Associated Press, the four companies who filed the joint complaint against the county – Syngenta, Pioneer, Agrigenetics (a Dow subsidiary) and BASF – claim the law “will increase risks of vandalism and misappropriation of trade secrets.” The excuse of protecting so-called proprietary information is a common one that companies throughout the food chain try to exploit as a means to simply escape oversight. The law, Ordinance 960, requires companies to disclose pesticide use information and establish buffer zones between their fields and public spaces. Perish the thought that money-making chemical companies consider community health and basic transparency more than their pocketbooks.

Last year, FIC submitted information requests to find out how the biotech industry may have influenced government officials when the law was still being considered.

Who is the real victim here? Certainly not Syngenta and its pesticide brigade.

The county and its people are standing up against Big Biotech to defend the new law, which is set to take effect on Oct. 1. We stand with Kauai. Are you with us?

Sarah Damian is Communications Manager for the Food Integrity Campaign.