15 June 2011
CHOICE, in engaging in a non-factual and alarmist campaign regarding agricultural chemicals in Australia has tripped at the first hurdle. CHOICE’s website had stated that “There are more than 80 chemicals and pesticides used every day in Australia that are banned in Europe”, a statement that is false and misleading.
To avoid embarrassment and a complete undermining of its credibility, CHOICE has sought to quietly backpedal from this pronouncement regarding the regulatory status of pesticides in Australia and the European Union and overnight changed its official website. Nevertheless, it highlights a serious problem with the integrity and ethical standards CHOICE is bringing to this campaign.
Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia, Matthew Cossey said “while the change recognises that these products are not ‘banned in Europe’, the implication that these products are no longer registered because of health or safety concerns is false, misleading and deceptive. Indeed, many of the chemicals identified in the CHOICE campaign as being banned or no longer registered continue to be used safely and effectively in many European and other countries around the world”.
“It is concerning that CHOICE has allowed its own agenda to be high jacked in this way by extreme anti-chemical campaigners. By putting its name to this deceptive anti-pesticide campaign, CHOICE has reduced itself to nothing more than a scaremongering lobby group. In doing so, it has also abandoned a serious position of advocating for consumers. Modern agricultural chemicals are the products that ensure safe, disease free, quality and value for money food for Australian consumers”, Mr Cossey said.
Each country has its own unique circumstances of demography, crop production and environment that can mean different pesticides are used. Differences in product availability are often also due to the commercial decisions made by manufacturers and registrants.
“By their own admission in changing the website CHOICE has confirmed their attempt to mislead the Australian public. CHOICE should now formally apologise to Australia’s consumers and the Australian plant science industry, and admit that its genuine intent is to inappropriately influence government processes by promulgating discredited reports from activist organisations”.
“CropLife calls upon CHOICE to publicly withdraw its support for this campaign so that it can attempt to re‑establish its credibility as an independent consumer watchdog”. Mr Cossey said.
CropLife and its members are committed to the responsible and sustainable management of agricultural chemicals throughout their lifecycle. Our members invest millions of dollars each year to ensure that products remain safe and present no unacceptable risks to users, consumers or the environment.