Methyl Iodide & Strawberries

methyl iodide & strawberriesStrawberries are big business.  The United States produces the largest percentage of the world’s strawberries, by far.  Only if you combine the whole of the European Union do you get a competitive production region.  What is needed to produce all those strawberries?  Well, that depends on who you ask…

A recent article in The Californian broaches the topic.  Methyl bromide used to be the fumigant of choice for soil sterilization until its recent ban.  Into the void has stepped methyl bromide’s cousin, methyl iodide.  Is this a good development?  Some say yes, and some say no.

For those interested in what goes into their bodies, this article will help form an opinion, one way or the other (see also this link on 10 Reasons to Grow Your Own Strawberries, and Are Organic Strawberries Better?).  It is a balanced presentation by two authors.  The first advocates the use of this new fumigant as safe and necessary.  The second questions the necessity of its use and points to its dangers.

Get the whole story by clicking this link: Methyl Iodide & Strawberries.

[ methyl iodide strawberries ]

5 comments to Methyl Iodide & Strawberries

  • ro pettiner

    I just bit into a strawberry that tastes very chemical. I could even smell this chemical on several others in the box. I think this must be what is on these berries. They are going back today to the store I bought them from. I suspect it is residue from the chemical mentioned in this article.

  • Straw Berry

    Tiffani,
    If multiple strawberries come into close contact with each other while they are forming, they can fuse together. Consequently, you can have a “single” berry with multiple stems. That is most likely what happened with the specimen you discovered. Hope that helps!

  • Tiffani

    I found a strawberry from a store bunch that has 3 stems.. How is that possible?

  • Mike Robertson

    In 2007 a group of 53 concerned scientists including 6 nobel laureate chemists wrote an open letter to the EPA concerning the use of methyl iodide. In part: “Alkylating agents like methyl iodide are extraordinarily well-known cancer hazards in the chemical community because of their ability to modify the chemist’s own DNA, as well as the target molecule in the flask, leading to mutations that are potentially very harmful. Because of methyl iodide’s high volatility and water solubility, broad use of this chemical in agriculture will guarantee substantial releases to air, surface waters, and groundwater, and will result in exposures for many people.” As a retired organic chemist, I can say that methyl iodide is one of the most toxic chemicals used in the lab, and was used with great caution.

  • Robert Dolezal

    Despite decades of testing on thousands of fruit and produce samples, the US-EPA, USDA, and USF&DA have never found a single instance of food contaminated with any soil fumigant product, including methyl iodide. Virtually every strawberry nursery start grown and planted in the world begins its life in soil that was fumigated to eliminate any potential for transfer of harmful pathogens and germs like the e. Coli that now is ravaging Europe, plus eliminating other soil-borne pests, weeds, and diseases that harm the plants themselves. That includes nearly ALL organic strawberry production. Consumers can eat strawberries with confidence that they have no pesticide residues from this necessary, effective, and safe precautionary treatment of source planting stock.

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