President Bush has KILLED the $8 million-a-year program that tests the levels of pesticides in fruits, vegetables and other field crops; citing COST as the major reason why.
Launched in 1990, the program has allowed food researchers and universities to assist farmers in reducing the amount of pesticides they use. The Chicago Tribune reports:
"We looked at the budget and said, 'We can't do everything we have been doing, and what are we going to get rid of?' " said Mark Miller of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, which administered the program.
The decision came as a shock to researchers at the EPA and elsewhere who have come to rely on the data, which measure how much pesticide farmers apply to certain crops each year.
"Elimination of this program will severely hamper the efforts of the USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), land grant scientists, and state officials to perform pesticide risk assessments and make informed policy decisions on pesticide use," the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.
Since 1990, the program has included tests on about 120 different kinds of fruits, vegetables and field crops, such as almonds, olives, spinach, wheat, corn and apples.
From the Organic Authority Files
Speculators believe this cancellation will increase people’s worries over food safety.
Luckily, the overall concern about pesticides and toxic chemicals has sparked the MASSIVE organic food movement in the United States.