Brexit to hand over pesticide control to politicians
The threat to insect life has never been greater. A new analysis published by the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory raises serious questions over the apparent weakening of pesticides legislation post Brexit as EU laws are brought into British law. The new rules will remove existing checks and balances giving a handful of UK ministers the power to create, amend and revoke pesticide legislation. Ministers will also be able to choose the evidence they use to approve pesticides, which severely weakens the protection given by the EU’s use of the ‘precautionary principle’. This is likely to fling open the door to ever more toxic, environmentally-dangerous pesticides than are currently permitted. Even more worrying is the removal of the current blanket ban on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) known to cause adverse health effects not just in humans, but animals and fish also. Due to the increase in pesticide use in the UK the RSPB along with dozens of other environmental groups have resigned from the UK government's pesticide forum after two decades. It is clearly going to be up to us as consumers to make informed choices about food, personal and homecare products, as well as where we shop and which industries we support with our wallets.
Trump and cronies weaken GM regulations
In a hugely significant move, President Trump has opened the door even wider so that genetically modified foods and animals can enter the food supply chain without significant safety testing. The signing of an executive order directing federal agencies to simplify the current ‘regulatory maze’ follows the release of proposed changes to regulations by the US Department of Agriculture. This proposed relaxation of regulations fails to take account of the ability of newer gene editing techniques to make significant aberrant changes to organisms that are unlikely to ever happen in nature. The change in rules could mean that ‘frankenfoods’ dominate US food supply with little or no oversight. Yet more reason to shop with discretion as the control from Big Corporate becomes ever stronger.
EU grants patents on animals
The abuse of patents in farming has continued with the European patent office granting of a patent for salmon and trout reared on specific plants. This is not the first such animal-rearing patent to have been granted in Europe. Such moves will increasingly allow Big Corporates such as Bayer, DowDuPont and Syngenta to increase their stranglehold on farming practices, controlling the supply chain from feed to fork, which risks farmers’ livelihoods along with the health of planet and people.
Small farms more productive
Recent figures from the SALSA project highlight how undervalued the role of small farms is in the food production chain. The analysis found that not only do small farms produce more food than has been previously considered, but they are also more sustainable. Small farms are increasingly important to reduce food miles and make local, seasonable produce available to more people. Eating a diverse, seasonable, diet is the cornerstone of health creation, which naturally reduces the risk of disease. Support your local small farms and play your part in promoting the solution to feeding the planet and healing the environment. Our healthy futures depend on strengthening our local communities, rather than relying on the mass-produced, ultra-processed, nutrient-poor products from Big Food.