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The latest news on this change — carefully culled from the world wide web by our change agents. They do the surfing, so you don't have to!

What's ON My Potatoes?

Imagine taking a trip to the grocery store and being left on your own to figure out what ingredients are in the foods you are about to buy. Scary thought, huh? Consumers may be in for exactly that experience very soon, but on a much greater level.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it plans to eliminate its national survey tracking pesticide use, despite opposition from top scientists, the nation's largest farming organizations and environmental groups. Why, you ask? Officials claim the $8 million price tag for the survey was too much for their $160 million annual budget.

Since 1990, farmers and consumer advocates have leaned on the agency's detailed annual report to learn which states apply the greatest amount of pesticides, and where bug and weed killers are most heavily sprayed. The data is also used to decide how chemicals should be regulated, and which ones are the most jeopardy to public health. The agency said consumers could find similar data from private sources. The problem is, however, that only a small group can afford the $500,000 it requires to purchase a full set of the privately collected data each year.

This news could greatly affect frustrated consumers who are trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to live healthier. What’s more, groups like the San Francisco nonprofit Pesticide Action Network said they fear that people who are affected by the change will go unrecognized until they end up in the hospital...or worse.

If you're concerned about the lack of tracking of pesticides on food in this country, email the Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer at agsec@usda.gov and let him know what you think.

Will this news change your produce buying habits? [Associated Press]

Posted: 5/27/08