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McDonald's Fries to Go Pesticide-Free?

McDonald’s, the States’ largest purchaser of potatoes, is taking preliminary steps to go pesticide-free, Reuters reports.  Investor groups had been pushing for the move, and now McDonald’s looks like it’s bending.

It will now take steps to reduce pesticide use in potato production for its supply.

Our U.S. potato suppliers are already working with their growers to advance sustainable pesticide practices, such as reductions and alternative methods.

And because it accounts for a huge chunk of U.S. spud use, I suppose it’s good that they’re leaning toward organic. But this isn’t some charitable thing, though they’re gonna spin it that way (of course).

Shareholder and labor groups were pushing McDonald’s to address the issue in their company report. They were asking that Mickey D’s publish a report on the steps it could take to possibly reduce the use of chemicals. Then shareholders could vote on a pesticide-free resolution at the fast food giant’s shareholder meeting later this year.

But because McDonald’s agreed, there will be no vote on the action.  I’m suspicious: they probably didn’t want a bunch of consumer advocates and enviros buying stock for the sole purpose of pulling a Utah land auction on them and forcing them to go all biodegradable, organic, and (gasp!) healthy.

Newground Social Investment Chief Executive Bruce Herbert, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health had this ironic comment on the move:

Because McDonald’s has such a commanding presence in the marketplace, this commitment offers the promise of significant reductions of pesticide use — which will benefit consumer health, as well as farm workers, local agricultural communities and the environment.

“Benefit consumer health”…bwahahahaha! April 1st was yesterday! I don’t care how you fry it up. Eating deep-fried organics is not healthy. You could eat sticks of organic butter all day long, but you’re not gonna get any thinner, folks.

On the other hand, if a corporate giant like Mickey D’s forces more companies to go organic, it could help the market considerably. Not to mention the environment.

Then, it could also devalue the work and value of organic farmers and undercut their prices.

Reminds me very much of the news that Wal-mart was going local. Sounds nice and oh-so responsible to the community.  But it also reeks of greenwashing.

And who knows how these corporate giants, who little value human commitment to hard work (or the land, for that matter) will treat and pay the farmers they work with?

Yeah, any way you cut those fries…I’m still not biting. Thanks anyhow.

Image: dyanna on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.