USDA Whistleblower Complaint Raises Question: What Else Is USDA Hiding on Pesticides?

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News Release

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (415) 944-7350

USDA Whistleblower Complaint Raises Question: What Else Is USDA Hiding on Pesticides?

Today, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a whistleblower complaint on behalf of U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist Jonathan Lundgren, who may have been harassed and suspended for research on the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on monarch butterflies.

“The suspension of Dr. Lundgren raises questions about whether USDA is suppressing other research adverse to the interests of the agrichemical industry.  Is this an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern?” said Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a consumer group. “What else is USDA hiding about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides?”

On March 30, 2015, U.S. Right to Know sent letters to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees, and to the USDA Inspector General, requesting an investigation of a possible cover up for Monsanto, and whether USDA scientists are being harassed when their work runs counter to the agrichemical industry’s interests. We received no responses.

The letters were in reaction to a March 27 Reuters article that, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, “some scientists working for the federal government are finding their research restricted or censored when it conflicts with agribusiness industry interests….at least 10 USDA scientists have been investigated or faced other consequences arising from research that called into question the safety of certain agricultural chemicals….Research into glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, and neonicotinoid insecticides, which have been linked to honey bee and monarch butterfly endangerment, face particular scrutiny…”

U.S. Right to Know is a new nonprofit organization that exposes what food companies don’t want us to know. For more information, please see our website at usrtk.org.

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