Categories Agriculture

Agricultural Production Issues – Pesticides, Organic, and Biotech

Growers rely on conventional, organic, or biotechnology-based agricultural practices for commercial production. Each of these farming practices has benefits and risks associated with its use. As the population continues to increase, polices and practices need to be continually addressed, modified, and adopted to promote sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation and protection, and to ensure an affordable, abundant, and safe food supply.


Food Production Issues

Conventional, organic, and biotechnology-based agricultural production policies and practices are continuously confronted with environmental, health, safety, or ethical implications and issues. Scientists, growers, governing bodies, regulatory agencies, and the public continually address these issues in an attempt to determine the most effective means to safely produce an adequate supply of food and fiber.

Conventional farming is aided by the use of pesticides, usually synthetic chemicals, and integrated pest management (IPM) procedures, e.g. entomophage (beneficial organisms such as, birds, spiders, and ladybug beetles, which feed on insect pest species) conservation and crop rotation. Organic farming prohibits the use of most synthetic chemicals and relies on natural chemicals, e.g. botanical extracts, and IPM (AMS). Biotechnology-based farming utilizes genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) plants to reduce inputs, e.g. insecticides, fungicides, and labor costs.

Each of these agricultural production practices has benefits and risks associated with its use. Legislators and policy makers have developed and continue to redefine standards for conventional, organic, and biotechnology-based practices for the agricultural industry. These standards are adopted and implemented to minimize risks to human health and the environment.

Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 and Other Statutes

In the United States, conventional production is regulated in part by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996. The FQPA is a far-reaching statute that impacts one of the most basic needs for human survival – a safe food supply. This statute amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to address environmental, health, and safety issues. The FQPA replaced the Delaney Clause to establish pesticide risk tolerances in food and other exposure routes, such as water and residential uses.

The FQPA established reasonable exposure risks, primarily to protect children from potential harmful effects of pesticide contact and consumption of residues. …

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