The fervor surrounding the Environmental Working Group’s latest publicity stunt has reached Washington, DC. Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted the following:
I am calling on the FDA to speed up and make public their final report on the prevalence of the weed-killing chemical, glyphosate, in many foods families regularly eat–cereals, granola bars, oats, snack bars, & more. We need answers and we need them now.
If you’ve missed out on the latest shenanigans, let me get you up to speed. Shortly after the Monsanto jury verdict (I’m sure the timing was a coincidence!), EWG released its latest report allegedly demonstrating that many favorite breakfast foods come with a dangerous side of glyphosate. The results are hardly new or Earth-shattering; other groups have published similar–and questionable–results before. (You can check out my response to previous iterations of this scare tactic here.) Unfortunately, the media indulged in the low hanging fruit and published the report far and wide.
But the results were met with a quick and sharp rebuke from a variety of sources. Here are a few of my favorites:
- IWF: Glyphosate in Cereal: Another Myth Promoted by Unethical Green Groups
- NBC News: Weedkiller in your cereal? Maybe, but don’t panic
- Dr. Carol Lynn Curchoe: Moms You Know are Worried About Roundup in Their Kids Cereal. Here’s Why.
- AGDAILY: Cereal Killers or Food Terrorists?
- Farm Babe: No, There Isn’t Glyphosate in Your Food
Of course, I took my turn responding to Senator Schumer on Twitter.
Senator, come on. There is also fecal matter on your toothbrush, but you don’t need to be concerned about it! https://t.co/wzdz4bKuYY
— Farmers Daughter (@farmdaughterusa) August 20, 2018
But the fact that a sitting Senator, let alone one in a position of leadership, tweeted about this issue and perpetuated this lie is what really bothers me.
Senator Schumer’s tweet gives EWG’s ridiculous report legitimacy. His acknowledgment of the report and his call to action for the FDA makes it seem like something is wrong. He has the ability to sway people sitting on the fence about all of this, and firmly establish in the public mindset that people should be worried. Senator Schumer is endoring this nonsense with the authority of the office he holds.
Maybe he thinks it’s no big deal, because public sentiment is tacking in that direction anyway. But it is a big deal.
Glyphosate is one of the safest and most effective herbicides available. It is a great tool for farmers to keep our fields clean and embrace other environmentally-friendly production methods, like cover crops. Despite these qualities, glyphosate has been subjected to calculated publicity attacks for years now.
Senator Schumer didn’t really care about any of that though. He jumped on the anti-glyphosate bandwagon to act like he knows what’s up and cares about these issues. That’s a pretty good indication that public sentiment against the herbicide is becoming mainstream.
And that both disappoints and scares me.