On May 23 a group of top brands and members of the public are set to march to the offices of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver a vital petition, which aims to end the pre-harvest spraying of glyphosate-based herbicides on crops, one of the main reasons for our contaminated food supply.
Sustainable Pulse Interview with MegaFood’s Bethany Davis, Director of Advocacy & Government Relations, regarding the landmark event in Washington, D.C. on May 23rd which will involve a rally and march to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver a petition signatures in support of reducing the allowed levels of glyphosate in oats and to ban the use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest drying agent. The march starts at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 23, from noon to 1 pm
Many massive brands will be there alongside members of the public – and there will be free Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream for all. Patagonia Provisions, Ben & Jerrys, Stonyfield, Grandy Oats, Moms Organic Market, One Degree Organic, Clif Bar, Lundberg Family Farms & PCC Community Markets will all be supporting the event.
Ben and Jerry’s: “We joined EWG and the other companies in petitioning the EPA in order to reduce the permissible levels of glyphosate in oats. All of us, food companies and consumers alike, have an interest in reducing the amount of chemical pesticides and herbicides used broadly in agriculture and we believe this would be an important first step in doing just that.”
What is happening on May 23rd and why is MegaFood supporting it?
On May 23 we are producing a rally at Freedom Plaza, right around the corner from the EPA. We are gathering people that are supportive of our petition with the Environmental Working Group and close to 2 dozen other brands and retailers to ban glyphosate as a desiccant on oats and restore the glyphosate tolerance limits on imports. The EPA opened up a 30-day comment period on May 6th, so the timing is perfect. We will rally with live music, speakers and lots of free samples, and then we will march over and hand-deliver over 80,000 public comments in support of our petition to the EPA. Our aim is to show the EPA how much people want to protect their food from Glyphosate.
MegaFood is one of the brands that is Glyphosate Residue Free certified by our sister company The Detox Project. Do you see this event as an opportunity to call for an increase in transparency in the U.S. food and supplement industries?
A call to increase transparency, yes. Because many people didn’t know that many crops are desiccated, or dried with Glyphosate just prior to harvest, thus resulting in higher residues on food we eat before they became aware of our petition. But even more than that, it’s an opportunity to show people how important their voice is and how to create change through engagement. Advocacy is a part of MegaFood’s makeup and we believe that if you have a voice, you use it and if you have a company – you use it to stand for changing things for the better.
Why is there only a concentration, in the petition being delivered to the EPA, on the reduction of safe levels of glyphosate in oats and a ban on pre-harvest spraying – is it not better just to call for a full ban on the use of glyphosate-based herbicides?
This particular use of Glyphosate is an “off-label” use of the chemical. Meaning, that it’s not even specifically approved for this use on oats and other crops. When we saw via testing how much residue of Glyphosate was present we knew this was low-hanging fruit. And we picked oats because it’s a food that a lot of kids eat and the EPA has an even higher responsibility to consider such vulnerable populations. I mean, oatmeal? Breakfast cereals? People don’t think they are serving herbicide to their kids with these staple foods. There are other safer ways to dry crops, just ask an organic farmer. This specific practice is hard to defend, in my opinion, and if our petition is heeded, it will result in a meaningful change for consumers and their families. There are additional completely unnecessary uses of Glyphosate as well, and you may hear from us on those in the near future.
Why is the pre-harvest spraying of glyphosate on crops such an issue for food and supplement brands?
Speaking on behalf of MegaFood, we care because we care about gut health. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and residues of it on our food results in ingestion. We want to nurture gut health – not kill our gut microbiome. It’s a completely unnecessary antibiotic consumption and there are not good reasons to keep desiccating this way, especially on foods that babies and children regularly eat.
Why should members of the public come to the event in Washington D.C. – will it be worth their time and effort?
For me, I care deeply about our dying planet. And when I do nothing, I’m just in victimhood. When I act, I’m in my power and I’m taking responsibility for the world I want to create. We can’t leave it to others to speak for us. We have to stand up and take action. Look what can be accomplished with one person like Greta Thunberg speaking up! Imagine what we can do when we all come together to speak up for issues and actively participate in creating the world we want to live in.