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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Organic Farmers (CCOF) Approves LBAM Spray
California Certified Organic Farmers approves of biochemical pesticide aerial spraying. (CCOF) Sells Out!
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) Sells Out
CCOF approves of biochemical pesticide aerial spraying.
LBAMspray.info contacted Peggy Miars, Executive Director of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), on 10//10/07 at approximately 9:15AM to hear CCOF's opinion on the state's proposed aerial spraying of biochemical pesticides on urban populations.
Executive Director Miars was asked how CCOF came to the decision to support the aerial pesticide spraying. Her response was, "Our farmers want it, so we support it". When asked if CCOF has researched or read any information other than what has been provided by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Peggy Miars replied, "No, we have not".
When asked if she had attended any of the public meetings related to this issue, she replied again that she had not.
Miars says CCOF simply followed the National Organic Program’s position on the LBAM spray. "If they support it, we support it [LBAM spray]" said Peggy Miars.
LBAMspray.info informed Miars about the adverse health effects of the inert ingredient, polymethylene polyphenyl isocyanate (PAPI), that is found in the pesticide that is being used in the spraying. Miars was also informed that OSHA has reported PAPI as dangerous to our respiratory system. Miar's response was "That is not our concern. That is someone else’s department."
It seems that CCOF cares only about their own bottom line and their own profits and, ironically, has very little concern for the health of the consumers that buy their products.
After being given even more valuable information on the issue, Miars replied, "I don’t mean to sound blunt, but as long as we can keep our organic certification, we support it [LBAM spray]."
Thank you for keeping the public informed about this topic. Unfortunately, I was misquoted in several places and wish to set the record straight.
I did NOT say, "That is not our concern. That is someone else's department." What I DID say was that "part of CCOF's mission is to support organic farmers. As such, our main concern in this situation is the welfare of organic farmers. We are not a health organization, and we are not an environmental organization. Other organizations will address the health aspects, and other organizations will address the environmental aspects. Our mission relates to organic. That is our main concern."
CCOF is a nonprofit organization. As such, profits are not our main concern, as erroneously stated. We are a membership organization, and we address the needs of our members and the organic marketplace.
As the article's author stated, CCOF has not conducted independent research on the pheromone. We relied on the National Organic Program (NOP) to do that research and determine what is allowed in organic production. Since 2002, the NOP has been the agency responsible for regulating organic production in the United States. Since the NOP approved this pheromone treatment for organic production, CCOF decided to support the treatment. Our concern is that if the LBAM gets out of control, we will be faced with the prospect of more toxic pesticides being used. And, that's something that none of us wants.
I have not personally attended meetings to discuss LBAM because I find out about them too late and have had a conflict each time. The article's author has offered to keep me posted about meeting dates and times. I'm looking forward to receiving that informaiton.
As with many articles, an intelligent conversation has been watered down to a few (mis)quotes.
We at LBAMspray.info are sorry that Peggy Miars feels that she was misquoted. The article was written within minutes of the conversation, in which good notes were taken, and we stand by what we wrote.
We realize that CCOF is a nonprofit organization. But as Miars states, their worries are concerning the organic “marketplace”. It seems to us that that still translates to profits.
The individuals at LBAMspray.info have always supported organic farmers in our community and feel that it is important to do so. But we also feel that it’s only appropriate that the organic farming community should be concerned with how certain agriculture practices affect the health of their consumers and employees. After all, their consumers and supporters obviously care about their own health or they wouldn’t be supporting the organic farming community to begin with.
We greatly sympathize with the California farmers and nurseries that have been subjected to the state’s overbearing restrictions and quarantines. However, spraying biochemical pesticides over urban populations to ease these restrictions is not only completely unprecedented and ill advised, but it is also not the only solution to the moth dilemma. We are disappointed that CCOF does not acknowledge this fact and that they have obviously not researched this on their own before giving their stamp of approval.
We are told that Australia has been spraying moth pheromones in their country for 10 years now (but note: they do not spray in populated urban areas) and yet we can easily see that the light brown apple moth is still alive and well there. So all this talk of eradication seems to be quite misleading when we can see that it hasn’t been successful in Australia in their 10 years or spraying. How long can we expect the human population to be sprayed here in California while we attempt an eradication effort that has been proven to be unsuccessful?
These CheckMate pesticides have an “emergency” clearance from the EPA under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which means they have not been as thoroughly tested as we are led to believe. Suterra, the manufacturer, admits “long-term studies on the active ingredients have not been done”. Over 100 citizens of Monterey have already reported illnesses due to exposure to the spray.
We plead with CCOF to research this entire matter a lot more than they have and to reconsider their approval of spraying human populations with biochemical pesticides. There are other methods available. Let’s explore those other methods. After all, it is the health of the consumers and supporters of CCOF’s members that will be affected with this illogical approach.