Monsanto postpones “NemaStrike” launch after new pesticide causes skin rashes among farmers

Friday, November 3, 2017
By Paul Martin

by: Isabelle Z.
Friday, November 03, 2017

The launch of a Monsanto product that the company touted as boasting “blockbuster technology” has been postponed indefinitely after farmers report developing skin rashes after using it.

The chemical in question, NemaStrike, was developed to put on crop seeds to protect soybeans, cotton and corn from yield-reducing worms. Monsanto says it underwent three years of field tests throughout the nation ahead of its full launch and was used by more than 400 people as part of its trial. In addition, it gained approval by U.S. regulators. However, farmers have started complaining of skin rashes and irritation.

Never one to admit blame, Monsanto is essentially telling those suffering these ill effects that it’s their own fault, with company spokesperson Christi Dixon saying that some of the users who have had problems might not have followed the directions to use protective equipment like gloves.

Whether they are admitting it or not, however, they must realize the product is also at fault because they’ve decided to delay its launch. If it was simply a matter of not following instructions, wouldn’t they have added a warning or clarified the instructions and then proceeded with this “blockbuster” launch as planned? They used a similar excuse when their dicamba spray came under fire earlier this year, claiming the problem was caused by farmers not following the directions.

In a letter sent to customers about NemaStrike, Monsanto U.S. Commercial Operations Lead Brian Naber wrote:
“There have been limited cases of skin irritation, including rashes, that appear to be associated with the handling and application of this seed treatment product.”

NemaStrike was poised to launch on 8 million crop acres in the nation in the 2018 fiscal year, according to Chief Executive Hugh Grant. He said the product would bear a premium price tag in keeping with its consistent yield protection against nematodes. It works by remaining in the root area where these microscopic roundworms attack, spreading viruses and enabling fungal and bacterial infections to take hold. According to the EPA, these parasites are responsible for a 14 percent loss in worldwide agricultural production, which equates to up to $100 billion in crop losses each year.

Monsanto constantly making headlines for all the wrong reasons

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