vendredi 8 décembre 2017

120- Plants protection -6- Feeling a change in the wind


In full controversy throughout the European Union after the re-authorization of glyphosate for 5 years, a small French company takes advantage of the confusion to make its public ad.

Picture: of my own

It explains that it has an organic alternative to glyphosate, but that its commercialization is blocked by the administration.
It broadly publishes on social networks (with the help of its supporters and / or environmental lobbies) articles telling anyone who wants to hear that its product exists, that it has a proven effectiveness, but that the administration, for 4 years, is blocking its file without cause. It therefore portrays itself as a victim of a situation suggesting that the administration is under influence.
And it works. In recent weeks, it is entitled to articles in all periodicals, even the most serious, it goes on television, even outside France. A well-orchestrated and, it seems, effective advertising.
Here are some French links. There are many others.

The administration in charge of the case, the ANSES (National Agency for Public Health Security, for Food, for Environment and for Work), probably tired of being attacked from all sides, has just published a statement in which it specifies the situation.

It indicates in particular that, although it's true that the file does not progress, it's completely wrong to make the administration responsible. In fact, the company in question is the only responsible for not having provided the competent administration with the necessary elements, and for not having paid the corresponding taxes.

"Upon receipt of the file, it appeared that most of the necessary documents were missing, including the Cerfa administrative application form, which specifies in particular the characteristics of the product and its intended uses, as well as, for example:
- the integral composition (the active substances which enter the composition having
necessarily to be approved beforehand at European level),
- tests and studies to evaluate the efficacy of the product, and its impact on the health and on the environment,
- The product label project.
The payment of the fee for the investigation of the file (tax reduced to 2 000 € instead of 40 000 €, in the case of a biocontrol product) has never been carried out."

It is therefore very clear that a so-called biocontrol product, in other words a biological pesticide, must follow a clear and precise procedure to be approved. We can only rejoice.
The assumption that everything natural is good is regularly undermined by reality.

We can mention, for instance,
-       Nicotine, extracted from tobacco, still used in many countries as a biological insecticide and yet directly responsible for millions of deaths per year,
-       Arsenic, a natural mineral whose toxicity is undisputed, used as a fungicide (sodium arsenate) on the vines until 2001, and combined with lead (lead arsenate), another natural mineral whose toxicity is widely recognized, which has been widely used as an insecticide for example against the Colorado potato beetle until 1971,
-       Neem oil, a plant extract from the Neem tree, a complex bunch of natural substances, authorized worldwide as a biological insecticide, and a proven endocrine disruptor,
-       Natural pyrethrins, extracted from certain plants, very versatile natural insecticides, very widely used even in domestic insecticides, very toxic to aquatic fauna, and disruptive of nerve connections (neurotoxic),
-       Copper, the first pesticide in the history of modern agriculture, fungicide and bacteriostatic recognized, widely used in agriculture, both conventional and biological, despite its status as a heavy metal and known pollutant of soil and water.
-       We could also mention many natural substances, known for centuries, such as hemlock, snake or scorpion venom, ergot of rye, curare, and a very long etc. I have described only a few natural substances known for their use as pesticides.

It seems obvious that the company in question has embarked on a perfectly dishonest communication, trying to advance its dossier thanks to the pressure of the civil society, the same who managed to turn explosive the glyphosate file, which nevertheless was initially based on meager assumptions.

You will find all details about the product and its steps in the article (in French) of my colleague Seppi on the link

This charming company probably thought that if the glyphosate almost disappeared on the basis of a totally rigged and manipulated dossier, why could not its product be approved without any dossier?
It has become clear to all those who still doubt that social networks are currently the most powerful and effective weapon of manipulation and propaganda.

The boss of this small company also declared not to use chemicals that "destroy biodiversity." As Seppi says, his product is itself derived from natural chemistry. It is therefore a chemical product.
And like any good weed killer, its role is primarily to destroy biodiversity by eliminating unwanted weeds. In the case of pesticides, and in terms of biodiversity, synthetic or natural, it's the same.
I also think it's good to remember that, in essence, agriculture is fighting against biodiversity, even in its most ecological forms, such as permaculture.

From the moment when the farmer sows a field of a single species, with or without plowing, with or without pesticides, whatever the method of production and whatever the surface of the field, it disturbs the biodiversity.
It's the same with a garden. Do you want your garden not to disturb biodiversity? Leave it open, and fallow.

But beware, the application for approval concerns a "total weed control of non-agricultural areas", so for railways and roads, but not for agriculture, and not for gardens either.
All this takes on the air of false news and manipulation.

Wise guy.
This entrepreneur uses all the ecologist rhetoric, but just forgets to clarify matters. Lying by omission is in fashion nowadays.

It is nevertheless reassuring to note that legislation is changing with regard to organic pesticides. Indeed, until a very recent past, the requirements were very superficial for the authorization of commercialization and use of biological pesticides, leaving room for a regulatory vagueness giving rise to numerous abuses, always on the pretext that "it's natural".
A natural substance, for use on future foods must now demonstrate, of course its effectiveness, but also its safety on both the environment and health.

The same trend can be observed with plant-based preparations, such as nettle manure for example, which now have to prove their safety, which does not please everyone.

The precautionary principle, if it's applied to synthetic substances, must be applied in exactly the same way and in the same proportions to natural substances. Don't think that I defend the principle of precaution, I consider it a gangrene of our modern society, because of the brake to progress that it represents, often without any real justification. It's too often put forward. We must not do anything, but it is not a reason to paralyze all progress.

That being said, if this product is good and if, as the company that manufactures it asserts, it respects the environment, the user and the consumer, then very sincerely, as a farmer, user (reasonable and moderate) of the glyphosate, I'm looking forward to the arrival of this alternative.
It would still be necessary for this society to do what it takes to be approved. It has already filed a patent in Canada, in the United States, in Europe and finally an international patent on its formula. It shows that it intends to sell it, many even, to earn a lot of money.

At the beginning of any for-profit enterprise, which is obviously the case of this one, there is the notion of investment, ie an initial expenditure of funds intended to be made profitable by the future sales of the company product. The patent is part of that of course, but the homologation dossier too.
So dear sir, make the necessary investment for your product to be approved. Then I will be happy to use it, but only outside agricultural areas, unless you do the necessary so that this product can also be used in crops.
Unless of course, that its toxicity, its residues or the risks that it presents for health or environment block its homologation, or its possible future extension of use to the cultures.

Even if it's a natural product ...

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