Monday, April 13, 2009

Shareholders spoke and McDonald's listened

[Thanks to ToniD for this story]

by Chris in Paris on 4/13/2009 03:27:00 AM

This is the way the system should work. Well done by the shareholders for forcing the issue and equally well done by McDonald's for listening and taking action. McDonald's aims for a low-pesticide potato for its french fries

McDonald's, the largest fast-food chain the world and the largest buyer of potatoes in the United States, is under pressure from shareholders to do something about pesticide use on the potatoes it buys. To avoid a shareholder resolution on the subject, McDonald's has agreed to "survey its U.S. suppliers to compile a list of best practices in pesticide reduction and recommend those best practices to its global suppliers," according to Reuters.

Potatoes have been on or near the list of the Environmental Working Group's dirty dozen foods with the most pesticide residue for years. That means, according to a government analysis, that after a typical person buys a typical potato and prepares it in a typical way, it's among the fruits and vegetables most likely to be laced with pesticides. (The government regulates pesticide residue, so any chemical left on food is deemed to pose no health risk; that said, pesticides are designed to kill something -- a bug, worm, fungus, or weed -- and most people don't like the idea of taking each meal with a little drop of poison.)

It's not always easy supporting producers who make efforts to do the right thing. Organic foods do taste better but the price can often be much too high to afford on a daily basis. Our local grocery store has been floating more and more organic products ranging from ready-made meals, saucisson (dried sausage), cheese, fruits, veggies and wine. Overall the prices are fairly competitive, which helps a lot and makes it an easier choice for everyone to support.

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