Mark J. Terrill/AP
Just as the war over strawberry pesticide methyl iodide (also known as “Midas”) that we've been following was really heating up, it’s ended in the most abrupt fashion. As reported by MSNBC, Japanese manufacturer Arysta LifeScience announced this week that they’ve stopped all sales, marketing and production of the product in America.
"It's a financial decision," said a spokesperson for the company to the Grower. "It will allow Arysta to refocus its resources on other business."
The debate over the health risks of methyl iodide had reached a fever pitch recently, as the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of California Gov. Jerry Brown to reconsider using it over claims that it causes cancer.
"Arysta saw the writing on the wall and decided to pre-emptively pull cancer-causing methyl iodide off the shelves," said Paul Towers, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the state's decision to authorize its use to the Ventura County Star. "This is an opportunity for California's leaders to help our farmers transition away from the use of fumigants.”
Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
There’s quite the war being waged in Monterey County over the use of pesticides in the county’s plentiful strawberry fields. As we reported last month, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of asking California Gov. Jerry Brown to reconsider the use of pesticides like methyl iodide, which according to some is a cancer-causing agent. There are passionate supporters on both sides of the debate, which doesn’t look like to be resolved anytime soon.
Still, there’s hope. It was announced this week that the California Strawberry Commission and the Department of Pesticide are going to dedicate three years and $500,000 from a state grant to a joint research project in order to find alternatives to fumigant pesticides, including growing the berries in other substances that soil.