Today, the Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish dicamba residue tolerances for a broad range of food crops.
“These food crops are susceptible to dicamba exposure because they will be grown in proximity to dicamba tolerant crops. SOCC opposes pending regulatory applications by Monsanto and BASF that would allow widespread use of dicamba tolerant crops until effective protections are established for nearby food crops. Dicamba tolerances should be established before decisions are made regarding these pending regulatory applications,” said Steve Smith, Chairman, of Save Our Crops Coalition.
“In addition to yield reductions caused by direct pesticide damage, farmers also suffer losses when residues of a pesticide are found on a crop for which no tolerance has been established. Modern testing technologies are so sensitive; trace residues must be recognized as a significant possibility. If no tolerance has been established for a crop, any residue whatsoever makes sale of the crop illegal, so our farmers and processors must destroy the crop,” said Smith.
“Dicamba is one of America’s most dangerous pesticides for damage to neighboring crops. It tends to move from where it is sprayed. We are facing a real threat of dicamba trace residues on various specialty crops. SOCC is filing this petition to ask EPA to determine whether there are safe levels of dicamba residues. Without an established safe tolerance by the EPA, dicamba simply should not be approved for widespread use over our major agricultural production areas,” said Smith.
“SOCC is not proposing specific tolerance levels. We have requested EPA undertake that review and follow the science to assure food safety with appropriate tolerances,” said Smith.
The SOCC petition calls for EPA to establish dicamba tolerances for the following crops:
- Grape (Vitis spp.)
- Eggplant (Solanum melongena)
- Groundcherry (Physalis spp.)
- Pepino (Solanum muricatum)
- Pepper (Capsicum spp.) (includes bell pepper, chili pepper, cooking pepper, pimento, sweet pepper)
- Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa)
- Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)
- Chayote (fruit) (Sechium edule)
- Chinese waxgourd (Chinese preserving melon) (Benincasa hispida)
- Citron melon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides)
- Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)
- Gherkin (Cucumis anguria)
- Gourd, edible (Lagenaria spp.) (includes hyotan, cucuzza); (Luffa acutangula, L. cylindrica) (includes hechima, Chinese okra)
- Momordica spp. (includes balsam apple, balsam pear, bitter melon, Chinese cucumber)
- Muskmelon (hybrids and/or cultivars of Cucumis melo) (includes true cantaloupe, cantaloupe, casaba, crenshaw melon, golden pershaw melon, honeydew melon, honey balls, mango melon, Persian melon, pineapple melon, Santa Claus melon, and snake melon)
- Pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.)
- Squash, summer (Cucurbita pepo var. melopepo) (includes crookneck squash, scallop squash, straightneck squash, vegetable marrow, zucchini)
- Squash, winter (Cucurbita maxima; C. moschata) (includes butternut squash, calabaza, hubbard squash); (C. mixta; C. pepo) (includes acorn squash, spaghetti squash)
- Watermelon (includes hybrids and/or varieties of Citrullus lanatus)
The Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC) is a grassroots coalition of farm interests focused on preventing injury to non-target plants from exposure to dicamba. Dicamba is likely to be used far more extensively upon the introduction of new crops that are genetically modified to tolerate dicamba. SOCC is not opposed to plant technology advances, particularly genetic modification. However, SOCC does oppose regulatory actions that would result in herbicide use that causes substantial injury to non-target crops or the habitats necessary for their pollinators.