Fact Check: Rainforest Alliance Logo NOT An Indication That Food Contains Atrazine Pesticide

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  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: Rainforest Alliance Logo NOT An Indication That Food Contains Atrazine Pesticide Safe Frog

Does the green frog logo on some food products indicate that they contain the herbicide Atrazine? No, that's not true: The Rainforest Alliance logo indicates that the product comes from farms that meet ecological, social and economic standards set by the Rainforest Alliance certification program. It is a symbol of environmental health and a marker for change.

Atrazine is on the Rainforest Alliance's list of banned pesticides, updated in July 2022.

The claim appeared in a TikTok video (archived here) published on May 20, 2023, with the title "Rainforest Alliance logo in the cold tea 🤮". It opened with the following caption in Bulgarian:

All products with the frog logo are sprayed with atrazine. This pesticide causes severe damage to amphibians and fish, causing sterility as a result of decreasing testosterone levels. In studies, female signs and sex change occurred in male animals when atrazine was applied to larval stages of frogs. It is very harmful to humans! It changes the gender of men. Of course they turned that logo into gold-wrapped garbage. It's labeled as a protection of the environment, etc. NONSENSE! Just read what these leaves are sprayed with.....Don't be so naive.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Jun 2 21:11:00 2023 UTC+2)

Since February 2023, hundreds of social media users in Bulgaria have been sharing false claims that the Rainforest Alliance's green frog logo on various food products is indicating the content of the herbicide atrazine, which can turn "men into women." This claim refers to Professor Tyrone Hayes' work on frogs exposed to atrazine. Prof Hayes' explanation to Agence France-Presse (AFP) is as follows:

My research on frogs showed that atrazine genetically feminized male frogs. Depending on the concentration and species, feminization involved egg development in the testes, and in some cases ovarian development and complete feminization of some genetically male individuals, resulting in fertile females. These effects correspond to the decrease in androgens and the increase in estrogen production (induced by atrazine). Similar effects have been observed in atrazine-exposed fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Regarding the reproductive system, atrazine caused a decrease in testosterone and sperm in laboratory rodents, and in humans exposed to atrazine, sperm counts were low.

Screenshot 2023-06-03 110933.png

(Source: AFP screenshot taken on Sat June 3 11:09:38 2023 UTC+2)

Atrazine has been banned in the EU since 2004. This decision was not based on scientific evidence of harm to humans, but on a precautionary principle that no pesticides should be detected in drinking water.

"We have never authorized the use of atrazine as an exception under the 'emergency use procedure," a Rainforest Alliance spokesperson told AFP in an email on April 18, 2023.

Atrazine is a herbicide that can affect the sex determination of some amphibians, but it has no such effect on humans. This is not the only factor that influences the sexual development of these animals.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to atrazine can be found here.

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