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EPA Discusses Food Quality with Citizens

Release Date: 5/26/1998
Contact Information: Bob Jacobson
(206) 553-1203

May 26, 1998 - - - - - - - - - 98-29

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to be sure everyone's at the table when it comes to implementing the Food Quality Protection Act.

Lynn R. Goldman, the top official in EPA's national pesticide program, will participate in a public forum in Yakima on Saturday (May 30) where a cross-section of Washington state's agricultural and public health stakeholders will discuss the new law.

Saturday's forum is being sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, Senator Slade Gorton, Congressman Doc Hastings and Congressman George Nethercutt.

Goldman and Hastings will open the half-day forum at
9:15 a.m. at the Yakima Convention Center. Their presentations will be followed by three panel discussions, the first with agricultural leaders from state government, the second with representative growers of the state's major crops, and the third from members of the state's public health, farmworker and academic communities.

Goldman is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Goldman is a pediatrician.

"The Food Quality Protection Act puts the safety of American children first," Goldman declared. "EPA is committed to higher
standards of protection for our children, and I'm convinced we can meet those standards while providing a reasonable transition for agriculture."

Goldman said EPA's participation in Saturday's session is an example of how EPA is fulfilling a commitment made last month by Vice President Gore. In an April 8 memorandum, the Vice President Gore instructed EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work together with user groups, pesticide manufacturers, environmental and public health organizations, and other concerned with implementation of the law.

"The decisions we make can have real effects on farmers and other pesticide users," Goldman said. "The challenge we face is to establish an open and orderly process that will allow us to meet the public health mandates of the Food Quality Protection Act while ensuring that our producers can provide a wholesome, adequate and safe food supply."

Goldman explained that Congress directed that the first of the tolerance reassessments under the Food Quality Protection Act be completed by August 1999. Organophosphates have been identified as part of this first group, and EPA is now developing an approach for assessing them.

"Right from the start, EPA has been extremely mindful of the possible impacts of the Food Quality Protection Act," Goldman said. "On Saturday, I'll be listening to those who may be affected by our decisions -- farmers, farmworkers, the public and all other stakeholders."