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INDUSTRY SAYS FOOD SAFETY BILL WOULD DO IRREPARABLE HARM

      INDUSTRY SAYS FOOD SAFETY BILL WOULD DO IRREPARABLE HARM
    WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A proposal to change federal pesticide laws sent to the Senate floor today would cause the loss of many chemicals essential to food production and drive food prices higher, the National Food Processors Association said.
    NFPA President John R. Cady said, "S. 1074 would not create the kind of pesticide regulatory system that the American people deserve and can afford."  Cady added that the measure, reported today out of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, "would do irreparable harm to U.S. food production by playing havoc with agriculture."
    Cady praised the leadership shown in the committee by Sen. Orrin Hatch (D-Utah), who criticized the proposal for failure to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to consider benefits of pesticides in deciding whether to issue, modify or revoke a pesticide tolerance. "This rejection of benefits is inexplicable.  Benefits are real. More real than the theoretical risks extrapolated to human populations on the basis of laboratory studies that feed chemicals to rats and mice at extremely high doses," Hatch said at today's hearing during mark-up of the bill.
    Hatch continued:  "If EPA is forced to dismiss benefits, then its regulatory decisions will be based solely upon theoretical risk numbers manufactured inside the beltway, without any consideration of the real world needs of farmers, food processors and ultimately the food consumers that want an economical, safe and varied food supply."
    Cady said the bill sets such strict risk standards that "if natural carcinogens and toxins were screened the same way, we would ban carrots, oranges, watermelons, avocados, bananas, onions, broccoli and many other foods."  He also observed that S. 1076 would cause the loss of so-called "minor use" pesticides essential for growing most fruits and vegetables, resulting in lower crop yields and higher food costs.
    "To understand the importance of pesticides, we only need to look at what's happening right now in California's Imperial Valley," Cady said.  He noted that crop damage from a species of whitefly is so serious that California Gov. Pete Wilson has declared emergencies in two counties with crop damage estimated at $84 million.  "Broccoli that should be two feet tall by now is only three inches high, and 95 percent of the fall melon crop has been lost to the whitefly. California officials expect crop losses to amount to $200 million by next spring," Cady said.
    Cady said the food industry supports legislation that has been introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 3216 as "the most comprehensive approach to pesticide safety."
    NFPA is the science-based voice of the food industry on food safety and other issues.  The association operates three state-of- the-art food science laboratories.  Its 500 member companies manufacture the nation's processed-packaged fruits and vegetables, juices and drinks, meat and poultry, seafood and specialty products.
    -0-                    11/14/91
    /CONTACT:  Roger Coleman of the National Food Processors Association, 202-639-5935/ CO:  National Food Processors Association ST:  District of Columbia IN:  FOD SU: SB-MH -- DC022 -- 1192 11/14/91 15:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 14, 1991
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