Food

Crop Diversity: Good For Public Health, Good For The Bottom Line

By | Steve Blackledge
Public Health Program Director

For more than a decade, Iowa State University has been testing the merits of a 4-crop rotation, such as planting corn, soy, oats, and alfalfa over the course of four years. The results? The ISU researchers have reduced their use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers by about 90% while maintaining profits. That’s a staggering number, and even if farmers don’t push the limits as aggressively as ISU agronomists, we’re still talking about major reductions in chemicals. Moreover, we would expect correlating reductions in cancers, respiratory problems, reproductive system disorders, and more.  

On March 31st, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that his agency would deny a petition to ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos from being sprayed on food. He announced this decision despite EPA scientists’ earlier findings that concluded that chlorpyrifos, which is manufactured by Dow Chemical, can harm brain development of fetuses and infants after ingesting even small amounts. The news that the EPA would continue to allow the spraying of chlorpyrifos alarmed doctors and other public health officials, but what’s even more interesting is that according to several recent Freedom of Information Act requests, Pruitt met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris at a Houston hotel just twenty days prior to making his controversial decision.

Shrinking the Dead Zone, Reducing Fertilizer Use

By | Bill Wenzel
Director, Healthy Farms, Healthy Families Campaign

Last week, scientists predicted that this year’s hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico will be the 3rd largest since monitoring began 32 years ago. The “dead zone” will cover about 8,185 square miles — an area roughly the size of New Jersey.

Issue | Food

Healthy Farms, Healthy Families

Healthy Farms, Healthy Families

Media Hit | Food

Unsafe food puts Americans at risk, new report says

Contaminated food sickened at least 17 Iowans in less than two years and cost the state more than $1.4 million, according to a new report.

Those illnesses and costs were linked directly to food recalls, according to the report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG.

Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Food

Total Food Recall

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off of store shelves.  These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness.

News Release | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Food

Total Food Recall

Des Moines, October 30 – Despite government commitments to address the problem, food recalls are on the rise and our food safety systems are broken, according to a new report by U.S. PIRG.  Contaminated food makes 48 million Americans sick every year and costs over $77 billion in aggregated economic costs.  In Iowa over the last 21 months, 17 people were made sick from foodborne illnesses linked directly to food recalls and the cost was $1,410,845.

News Release | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Food

Taxpayer Subsidies Prop Up Junk Food Industry with Billions

Amid debates over wasteful agricultural subsidy handouts to the top 10% of wealthiest farmers, federal subsidies for commodity crops are also subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup by the billions according to Apples to Twinkies, a new report by Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG). Meanwhile, farmers growing fresh fruits and vegetables barely get a bite at the apple.

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