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The USA tries to bully Thailand over food safety

Posted on 22nd November 2019

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This recent story on The Guardian shows that the USA has not changed its approach.

The government of Thailand is in the process of banning three pesticides with known or suspected harmful side-effects. In doing so, they join dozens of countries who have already banned "chlorpyrifos, an insecticide made popular by Dow Chemical that is known to damage babies’ brains; Syngenta’s paraquat, a herbicide scientists say causes the nervous system disease known as Parkinson’s that has been banned in Europe since 2007; and Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, which is linked to cancer and other health problems".

The ban of these pesticides will block not only the pesticides themselves, but also food imports (e.g. from the USA) that are polluted with residue of these chemicals. "In the United States, pesticide residues are so common in domestic food supplies that a Food and Drug Administration report issued in September found more than 84% of domestic fruits, 53% of vegetables, and 42% of grains sold to consumers carried pesticide residues.

Of course, the USA, as always, is trying to pressure Thailand to not ban the pesticides.

America is clearly not content with poisoning only its own population, but wants to be free to poison those of other nations. The USA has an abominable track record on food safety, and on environmental protection in general, all in the name of profits, and is trying to persuade everyone else to adopt the same lax and irresponsible standards.

The US government tried very hard to get the EU to relax their food quality and labeling standards, without success. They then got very excited about the opportunities that would be created by Brexit, and Donald Trump has made it very clear that only a Brexit deal that does not include the inclusion of the UK in the EU trading block, and the food standards that come with that, would allow a trade deal between the UK and the US, because they need markets for their food exports laced with pesticide residues, and those based on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) without labels to identify their GMO nature (as described here).

Luckily, Thailand is not about to be bullied by Uncle Sam; Britain, however, seems likely to give the Yanks what they want. It is a sad state of affairs when a country like Thailand has more backbone and protection of their citizens than the UK. As I have said before, very many protections (product and food safety, employment protection, and human rights) that Britain currently has, come as a side effect of EU membership, rather than from British political will, and all of these protections and rights are at risk in the event of Brexit.