Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has reacted angrily to the latest report from the pesticides industry, which claims that the UK will no longer be able to produce a number of popular fruits and vegetables if new restrictions on the use of toxic chemicals are introduced by the European Union.
Dr Scott Cato said:
“This publication takes the idea of getting your retaliation in first into the realms of absurdity. Politicians like me should be free to make decisions in the best interests of the people who elect us and should not be subjected to this sort of hysterical lobbying by those employed to generate profits for their shareholders.
“The industry previously tried to block the banning of neonicotinoid pesticides which have been shown to be associated with decline in bee populations. But agricultural pesticides also have another connection with birds and bees since they can disrupt human and animal hormone systems leading to both infertility and congenital birth defects.”
The Green MEP has criticized the written report, claiming it is riddled with inaccuracies. She cites a widely reported claim over extensive job loses if pesticides are banned:
“The report is inconsistent. There are more jobs to be had in labour-intensive but toxic free organic agriculture, which consequently leads to the higher prices of organic fruit and vegetables, yet the report uses the higher price paid for organic food as a good reason to continue the heavy application of chemical pesticides.”
The report claims to be independent but was commissioned by the NFU and the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC). Anderson’s, the consultancy who produce the report, has previously worked for agribusinesses Bayer and Syngenta.
Scott Cato concluded:
“The death of the British carrot was already falsely predicted by similar lobbyists back in 2009 when new EU regulations were introduced. By making such sweeping and unjustifiable claims the agribusiness sector merely continues to undermine its credibility and to place itself clearly in opposition not only to European citizens but also to the farmers who suffer most from the diseases caused by the most toxic agricultural chemicals.”