CDPR Director's Candid Interview About Pesticide Use

1/29/2014 11:28 AM

Last week, the Alliance for Food and Farming launched a new web section which outlines the stringent regulations governing the approval and use of organic pesticides.  Included in this new section is an  interview with Brian Leahy, Director, California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CPPR).  Leahy is a former organic farmer who is charged with overseeing the safe use of pesticides in the state.  California is unique in that pesticides approved at the federal level by the Environmental Protection Agency must then go through another review process by CDPR before they can be used in the state.

Leahy’s interview is candid and pragmatic.  He states that pesticides are an important tool to grow food, protect public health and the environment.  However, Leahy is a strong advocate for the use of integrated pest management (IPM) which relies on a combination of pest and disease control strategies,  choosing “softer” pesticides and only using pesticides as a last resort.  These strategies are something most fruit and vegetable farmers are implementing.  In fact, an analysis conducted by a former CDPR director and commissioned by the AFF found that two of the top three pesticides used in California are approved for use on both organic and conventional farms. 

Leahy also reiterates what EPA, FDA and USDA have stated repeatedly, that sampling data shows that most fruits and vegetables have no detectable pesticide residues and that residues do not pose a food safety concern. 

If you haven’t read the interview with Director Leahy, we urge you to take a few minutes to review it.  As a former farmer himself and now a regulator of pesticides, his perspective is unique and important.

Read, learn, choose but eat more organic and conventional fruits and vegetables for better health. 

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