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Center for Food Safety Calls Dow, SOCC Backroom Deal on Agent Orange Crops a Betrayal of Farmers and the Public Interest

September 11th, 2012
Center for Food Safety

Today, Center for Food Safety issued a response to a joint statement by The Save Our Crop Coalition (SOCC) and Dow Chemical announcing SOCC has dropped its opposition to 2,4-D resistant “Agent Orange” crops. This backroom agreement was made prior to any approval of 2,4-D resistant crops by the USDA and involved only Dow’s “trust us” commitment to mitigate SOCC’s originally expressed concerns about pesticide drift contamination of some conventional crops.

One of the two toxic components of the infamous Vietnam Era chemical defoliant known as Agent Orange, 2,4-D exposure has independently been associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, hepatitis, lower sperm counts and birth defects in the children of exposed applicators. 2,4-D is also the seventh leading source of dioxin in the U.S.

The Dow-SOCC deal is completely silent on all other harms from 2,4-D resistant crops, including transgenic contamination of organic and conventional crops, the creation of resistant superweeds, harm to farmers, farm workers and protected species, and health impacts on consumers. Responding to those potential harms, an outpouring of over 450,000 farmers, citizens and businesses sent comments to the USDA opposing approval of these herbicide-promoting crops. SOCC had originally also opposed approval of the controversial 2,4-D resistant crops. That is until today.

“It is very disturbing and disappointing that SOCC would make any deal with Dow giving its approval or any appearance of legitimacy for these dangerous crops,” said Bill Freese, the Center’s science policy analyst. “SOCC has absolutely zero scientific expertise with which to judge Dow’s promises. Their claims of crop safety from 2,4-D drift have not undergone a single independent review and would fail if they did.”

Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety’s executive director stated, “This one-sided deal on Agent Orange crops is scientifically suspect, has no real legal force and does a complete disservice to all those seeking responsible regulation of genetically engineered crops.” Kimbrell continued, “Given Dow’s long history of negligence and social irresponsibility, SOCC’s leadership demonstrated extraordinary gullibility and poor judgment in placing the economic interests and survival of its farmer constituency in the hands of this corporation.”

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