To: Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen

Tell Kroger: Stop selling food grown with bee-killing pesticides!

Dear Mr. McMullen,

I’d like to alert you to recent news that Costco, one of the largest food retailers in the U.S., just announced an update to its pollinator policy. The policy encourages its suppliers of fruits, vegetables, and garden plants to phase out the use of chlorpyrifos and neonicotinoids. The policy also encourages suppliers to limit use of non-essential chemicals, utilize eco-friendly methods of pest and disease control and incorporate Integrated Pest Management strategies and other solutions for the use of least toxic alternatives. The retailer is also "significantly expanding” its offerings of organic products, “which in turn supports pollinator health.”

I was very pleased to see Costco take these steps. I urge your company to eliminate toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoids, chlorpyrifos, and glyphosate, in its supply chain. These pesticides are highly toxic and I urge your company to take these actions for the sake of my health, the health of your growers, the health of your customers and the environment. I also urge Kroger to increase USDA-certified organic food and beverages to 15 percent of overall offerings by 2025, prioritizing domestic, regional and local producers.

Costco isn’t alone in taking action to restrict these toxic pesticides. The European Union recently voted to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid pesticides. Canada just announced it is standing by its proposal to phase out most outdoor and agricultural uses of these pesticides. In addition, the state of Hawaii just signed a bill into law that bans all uses of chlorpyrifos.

States, businesses, and national governments are taking these steps because neonicotinoids, glyphosate, and chlorpyrifos are toxic to human health and the environment. Chlorpyrifos is a toxic nerve agent pesticide proven to cause brain damage in children and known to harm the environment and wildlife. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was set to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos nationwide last year, but the Trump Administration reversed that decision. Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used synthetic pesticides, have been implicated as a key driver of global declines of critical pollinators and species ranging from aquatic insects to birds. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world and the World Health Organization declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen.

A report by Friends of the Earth, Swarming the Aisles II: Rating top retailers on bee-friendly and organic food, grades 25 of the largest food retailers in the U.S on their policies and practices regarding pesticides, organic offerings, and transparency. Of the top food retailers, 20 received an “F” for failing to have a publicly available policy to reduce or eliminate pesticide use to protect pollinators. Kroger received an “F” in this category too.

Organic farms — farms that have eliminated all synthetic pesticides — have been shown to support 50 percent more pollinator species than conventional farms, while also protecting and regenerating the water, soil and other resources that we need to produce healthy food for generations to come.

As the second largest food retailer in the U.S., I urge Kroger to be a leader on this issue to protect human health and the environment. I call on your company to adopt formal policies to stop selling food grown with neonicotinoids, glyphosate, chlorpyrifos and other pollinator-toxic pesticides and significantly increase its USDA organic offerings, prioritizing local, regional and domestic suppliers.

Thank you,

Why is this important?

This year’s bee die-off numbers are out, and the news isn’t good. Bees are still dying at alarming rates. And it’s largely due to bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

If we want to stop the massive bee losses, we need to get these pesticides out of our food system. Kroger plays a key role in this fight. It could stop selling food grown with toxic pesticides. But we need YOU to help make that happen!

Add your name: Demand that Kroger takes action on toxic pesticides NOW!

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