Agriculture

Client:  Produce Marketing Association
Project:  Fresh produce newsletter
Article:  Produce groups form Crop Protection Coalition

A number of fresh produce groups have joined together to
form the Crop Protection Coalition. The Coalition will work
to address regulatory issues related to key pesticides used in
fresh produce production. First on the group’s list of targeted
pesticides is methyl bromide.

Methyl bromide a soil fumigant that is widely used for crops such as strawberries and tomatoes, according
to a report in The Packer.  It is also used to fumigate many imported and exported products to prevent
contamination and the spread of pests from one country to another.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contends that methyl bromide depletes ozone and wants to phase out
its use under the Clean Air Act.  The EPA is proposing to list methyl bromide as a Class I ozone deplete and phase
it out completely by the year 2000.

In the meantime, an economic impact study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
indicates that a ban on methyl bromide would cost the produce industry as much as $1.5 billion a year.  In
addition, loss of produce exports from the United States could amount to an additional $200 million if methyl
bromide is banned and there is no alternative.

Currently, the USDA is looking at a number of alternatives including cold and heat treatments, irradiation, and
biological controls.  The Crop Protection Coalition is urging the EPA to consider exempting agricultural uses
from the ban if no workable alternatives are found within two years.