UK Consumers Would Need to Pay 40% More for Food…

Most cropland in the UK is treated with pesticides to prevent diseases, insects and weeds from lowering crop yields. Without the use of pesticides, crop production would fall significantly resulting in higher prices for consumers. A 2010 study estimated the impact of the lower food production on consumer costs…

“This report estimates that without plant protection products, food security in the UK, and by implication in the EU and in most countries across the world, would be severely reduced and the cost of food would rise substantially. In the UK the cost of food would rise by about 40 per cent, increasing food and drink expenditures by some £70 billion per year and raised to the level of the EU this implies additional food expenditures of some £750 billion.”

Author: Séan Rickard
Publication: The Value of Crop Protection: An Assessment of the Full Benefits for the Food Chain and Living Standards. 2010 Report from the Crop Protection Association.

Recent Evidence – Herbicides Improve Nutrition of Sweet Corn

According to a 2009 study, application of two common herbicides to several varieties of sweet corn significantly increased the amounts of key nutrients carotenoids in the corn kernels. Corn is among the few vegetable crops that are good sources of zeaxanthin carotenoids, which help ward off diseases of the eye.

“Kernel lutein and zeaxanthin levels significantly increased 15.6% after mesotrione+atrazine early postemergence applications, as compared to the control treatment.  … This is the first report of herbicides directly up-regulating the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway in corn kernels, which is associated with the nutritional quality of sweet corn. Enhanced accumulation of lutein and zeaxanthin is important because dietary carotenoids function in suppressing aging eye diseases such as macular degeneration, now affecting 1.75 million older Americans.”

Authors: Dean A. Kopsell, et al.
Affiliation: Plant Sciences Department, University of Tennessee
Title: Increase in nutritionally important sweet corn kernel carotenoids following mesotrione and atrazine applications.
Publication: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Published June 19, 2009 on

Nutritionists Credit Pesticides for Widespread Availability of Apples in the American Diet

Apple production has come a long way in the U.S. thanks to the protection against insects and diseases provided by pesticides. In fact, without pesticides, this important fruit would largely disappear from our diets. A point recently made by nutritionists from the University of Nebraska…

“Apples play an important role in the American diet. … Apples and apple products offer several important health benefits. Besides supplying key nutrients, apples contain important compounds that may protect against cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.”

“The availability and judicious use of pesticides is important for the production of high-quality apples. Without the use of pesticides, there would be very few apples grown in the United States. Pesticides protect the fruit from attack by insects, mites, disease organisms, and weeds. … Pesticides are necessary to produce an abundant, consumer-accepted, affordable apple supply.”

Authors: Lewis, N. and Ruud, J.
Affiliation: Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska
Title: Apples in the American diet.
Publication: Nutrition in Clinical Care. 2004. 7(2): 82-88.