Calif. Strawberries May Turn Toxic

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2009 8:40 PM CDT
Strawberries are picked from the patch at Popp's pick-your-own farm in Dresden, Maine, on Tuesday, June 23, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – California appears close to producing strawberries that induce side-effects such as neurological damage and fetal loss, Gourmet reports. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is under industry pressure to approve a fumigant called methyl iodide, which rids soil of all living organisms without hurting the ozone layer. But a group of 50 scientists call it a “highly reactive chemical” with “well-known cancer hazards.”

“We are concerned that pregnant women and the fetus, children, the elderly, farm workers, and other people living near application sites would be at serious risk," the group wrote in a 2007 letter to the EPA—which approved the fumigant anyway. New York has already rejected it for agricultural use. Schwarzenegger is expected to decide within the next 2 weeks.