Thursday, October 20, 2005

The open letter to Trish Jordan and Monsanto

Dear Ms. Jordan,

Glyphosate-based herbicides are important tools for many farmers, so any information about potential problems is important. All research is of interest. On September 29, 2005, the Western Producer reported on a study conducted by publicly-funded Agriculture Canada researchers that found a link between glyphosate herbicides and a costly plant disease called fusarium. The Agriculture Canada study concludes that "previous glyphosate formulation application was the only crop production factor that was significantly associated with higher fusarium head blight levels every year of the study" and that there was "statistically significant and consistent association between previous glyphosate formulation application and fusarium head blight development in spring wheat throughout our 4-year study conducted in producers' fields." Despite calls from Agriculture Canada scientists for more research on the issue, you make the claim, in that same Western Producer article, that there is no need for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to take any further action and no need for further research. You go on to make the following statement: "They [The National Farmers Union] can throw out this study and we can probably throw 50 others back." The purpose of this letter is to issue a public challenge to you and your employer to "throw 50 others back." You have made this statement, which would lead readers to think that there are 50 other studies on the issue. OK. Let's see them. If you do not place "50 other studies" on the table in the next couple of weeks, then readers everywhere will be forced to conclude that your "studies" are no more than a figment of your own imagination designed to mislead the government and the public. You have made a statement regarding scientific fact; this is your chance to back it up.

Yours truly,
Terry Boehm
Vice-President National Farmers Union

No comments: