Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shareholders Force McDonald's to Act on Pesticides

Feeling pressure from a coalition of shareholders, McDonald's has announced that it will examine the use of pesticides on the potatoes it purchases with an eye toward possibly reducing the use of noxious chemicals and making public information about the extent to which its potatoes are sprayed.

Under an agreement with the shareholder group--the Bard College Endowment, Newground Social Investment and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund--McDonald's, the nation's largest purchaser of potatoes, will:

* survey its current U.S. potato suppliers

• compile a list of best practices in pesticide reduction that will be recommended to the company’s global suppliers (through the company’s Global Potato Board)

• communicate findings related to best practices to shareholders, as well as in the company’s annual corporate social responsibility report.

The three investor groups teamed with Investor Environmental Health Network to engage McDonald’s in talks about pesticide reduction. The shareholders said the company’s commitment will support progress on the pesticide issues that affect the environment, public health, and farm employees.

We say this is a good thing. A spud without chemicals is definitely a better spud. And we like the idea of shareholders mobilizing for food free of pesticides.


Anonymous said...

This is great news! I think we forget how much good can happen if we get Big Corporate America to be a force of GOOD.

Fresh and Feisty said...

I agree pesticide reduction is a good thing but as consumers and board members (or whatever they are) we need to realize that expecting one variety of potato is what is contributing to the massive quantity of pesticides used to product McDonald's potatoes. When only one variety is grown year after year in the same soil, there is no resistance to pests. Where as, if we allowed some variation in the potato varieties, we might have a chance at beating the pests at their game. Just my two cents. Thanks!

Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener said...

Fresh & Feisty - monoculture is certainly at the root of many evils. However, one step in the right directions is better than none.

From my experience, it would make no difference if a different cultivar of the same species is grown the following year. Even plants of the same family can cause problems as they often succumb to the same diseases, fungi or insects.

Stormy said...

Wow! This is major news - the entire saturated fats issue reached its tipping point when McDonald's changed it's cooking oil. This will hopefully be the same thing for commercial pesticide use.

Gina said...

This is a definite step in the right direction for McDonald's. If they want to be an industry leader, they need to be involved in issues like pesticides.