Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

National Action Calling On McDonald's to Cut Pesticide Use

 


What started as a just a few people in northern Minnesota trying to get potato producer RD Offutt to cut back on their weekly aerial pesticide applications has become a national struggle to move fast food giant, McDonald’s to saying no to pesticides.

Members of Toxic Taters, a grassroots group comprised of people in the potato growing counties of northern Minnesota, having been working for decades to get RD Offutt, the largest potato grower in the country, to make public the chemicals used on their crops and cut their use of pesticides.

45,000 to 50,000 acres of potatoes are grown in Minnesota annually. RD Offutt is one of the largest growers in the state. The company uses helicopters to spray pesticides every five to ten days during the growing season. Pesticides are also applied through center pivot irrigation systems and on the ground methods.

Residents around the fields became concerned when they began seeing livestock loss, damage to their water, damage to trees, other fields, and gardens, and increased illnesses including neuromuscular damage and cancers.

In 2006, with the help of the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), area groups began to monitor pesticide drift from the potato fields. Monitoring over the next three years found many pesticides including; chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, pendimethalin, PCNB, and 2,4-D.

In 2009, McDonald’s agreed to cut their use of pesticides on their potato products. However, the company has not fulfilled that promise to date.

“McDonald’s made an important commitment when they said they’d cut their pesticide use on their potatoes.” Said Toxic Taters Coordinator, Amy Mondloch. “Failure to live up to that promise means our water is being poisoned. That doesn’t stop here in Pine Point or Park Rapids. That water flows. Those poisons are carried along, impacting the people and all the life from here all the way down the Mississippi.”

Toxic Taters has declared October 2nd through 8th “Farm to Family:Pesticide Free- National Week of Action on McDonald’s and RD Offutt.” Working in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network, Corporate Accountability International, Mamavation, Food Sleuth Radio, and community groups across the country.

“We’re really excited about the action this year. Two years ago we started with a statewide day of action. This year we’ve had thousands of people tell McDonald’s they’re sick of pesticides on their potatoes by signing the online petition, spreading the word via social media, and calling McDonald’s. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday people from Massachusetts to California will be dropping off letters to managers and doing actions at their local McDonald’s as well.” said Mondloch

The group issued a public invitation this week to McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, to visit the communities of northern Minnesota and discuss the concerns of pesticide contamination from the potato fields and find solutions. No reply has been received at this time from McDonald’s.

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Minnesota Actions are planned for

Thursday

Park Rapids --McDonald's Noon on Thursday

Minneapolis-- Dinkytown McDonald's at Noon on Thursday-- 407 15th Ave SE

Morris-- McDonald's 5pm Thursday

Moorhead--McDonald's 5pm Thursday-- 220 8th St. South

Friday

Wadena-- McDonald's at 5pm

 

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