Wednesday, July 2

Potato plants showing improvement but advice is still don't eat them!

On one or two of our plots we have noticed that our potato plants seem to be growing out of the contamination problem. There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I spoke to DOW and they said this sometimes happens and the potato crop can even show improvement - sounded good.
Then I spoke to the RHS - could we now confidently eat our potatoes. I am afraid this was their advice:

The residue levels will decline in time, though this process is slower in plant tissue than in the soil. Delaying harvesting from affected plants until 2009 is a sensible precaution. For annual crops such as potato, it is best not to recommend consumption.

So I asked if crops growing in the area that has been treated with manure are not showing any symptoms - is it safe to eat those. The advice from the RHS was equally bleak.

There is no way you can exclude the possibility of weedkiller being present. Although the weedkiller is not considered a toxic material and must be present in vanishingly small quantities if plants are not affected there is no data on how safe the produce is to consume. One might assume the risk to be small but without solid scientific data it would be folly to assert this with confidence.

The bottom line is we are told that risk to health is minimal but on the other hand official advice is not to eat crops growing in affected areas.


  1. AnonymousJuly 06, 2008

    I have a garden in a wood in Wales, always use manure and heard GQT today - panic !! hopeless at Internet but thank goodness found your site - wonderful, very informative, HOPING all my veg is o.k. have thankfully not used huge pile of last year's manure yet - and will not. SO SORRY for all you people who are suffering...once again, thanks, shall visit again -

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    So it made Gardeners Question Time did it? Progress.

    Can you email me some details of what was said etc. Use the link on the sidebar.

    I'd be really grateful

  3. Hi Anonymous,
    So it made Gardeners Question Time did it? Progress.

    Can you email me some details of what was said etc. Use the link on the sidebar.

    I'd be really grateful

  4. hi there Susan
    I'm glad you now have this link.
    I was a little disappointed when I posted it on the national forum, you thought it wasn't relevant cos it was a differently branded herbicide. I had been sent the link & thought it very interesting.

    Corporations will do anything, in my opinion, to make money -including rebranding or reformulating a product they already know to have dangers. We all know this - & eventually, when the western world turns its back on a dangerous product, they sell it in developing countries.
    I read that DOW were extremely helpful, but they are fully aware of the potential dangers of their products. I thought to myself "Damage limitation". What an old cynic I am, but I have been part of many, many campaigns & we have all seen a great deal of cover-up on other food safety concerns.

    Keep up the good work,

  5. Kt.
    Sorry if I dismissed the report before but at that point I was coming across all sorts of stuff and only had time to read it briefly - the interesting bit about it is in the fact that it was the same scenario which I must have missed the first time around. Also interesting that a group of 'experts' came up with the same conclusions that an efficient label wasn't the end of the matter - when we came up with this response fairly quickly didn't we?

    The link is there now anyway. Must admit it was hard going to filter through some of the stuff on the national forum!

  6. Hi again k-t.
    I see what I meant now on the forum. You asked "If the problem was highlighted in 2001, I am wondering how long this herbicide has been used here -& why it is this year we are seeing these effects?"

    My answer to that was that the report was about a different chemical. And I have to admit that I didn't read to the end to establish the link i.e. the process is the same and the recommedations are as appropriate for aminopyralid as they were for clopyralid.
    So am I forgiven?


Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It is not published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.