By now, you've no doubt heard about the $289,000,000 Monsanto lawsuit verdict earlier this week, where a jury ruled the company's weed killer, Round-Ip' is responsible for a California man's terminal cancer. Since the ruling, Bayer's stock has seen a rocky week -- and it's still going down.
That has a lot of people talking about pesticides. Do they pose a health risk when it comes to the foods we eat?
By the year 2050, U.S. farmers will be tasked with the responsibility of feeding 9,000,000,000 people in this country alone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With so many mouths to feed, farmers pesticides are key.
Pesticides shouldn't scare consumers, according to Texas Christian University's Chris Farley. Farley teaches business courses in TCU's Ranch Management Program. “I use tomatoes as an example. Nobody wants to eat a tomato with a worm in it," he says.
Farley points out the point of pesticides is not to harm our agriculture, but to protect a farmer's crops from insects. "In our classroom, we like to use the words 'crop protection aides.' I think it give a different perspective of why we actually use them."
Pesticides are important for all crop sustainability, even organic -- because without pesticides, bugs can destroy entire crop fields in minutes.
Registered Dietician Angela LeMond says there are ways to limit your intake of pesticide residue found on food. "You can make your own wash, just with a combination of vinegar and water. We even say 30 seconds in cold running water. Make sure that's for pre-washed as well; that's important when you are grocery shopping," LeMond says.
Farley ensures that the chemicals used to protect our crops are safe for the consumer, and he urges that, at the end of the day, farmers always have consumers' best interest in mind.
"It starts with who we are. We're fathers. We have children and there is nothing that we would do to our animals or our crops that we would do to our own two-year-old daughter," he says.
It's also important to remember all pesticides, including the weed killer at the center of the Monsanto lawsuit, are approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. In the case of the California man with terminal cancer, the weed killer was not used in food production
We reached out to Monsanto for comment, but as of air time they had not gotten back to us.