Food forager wants more details about herbicide spraying

Pierre Beaucage likes to pick and eat wild food in the forests of Albert county, but he says a recent notice about herbicide spraying leaves him with more questions than answers.

Pierre Beaucage says public notice about forest spraying short of details

PIerre Beaucage wants information on herbicide spraying on lands where he finds food. 2:39

Pierre Beaucage likes to pick and eat wild food in the forests of Albert county, but he says a recent notice about herbicide spraying leaves him with more questions than answers.

A recent newspaper ad stated herbicide spraying will be done between July 31 and Sept. 30o on "some lands managed by J.D. Irving in New Brunswick.

"My concern is where? What does it do? Can I eat the stuff after he sprayed?" said Beaucage.

Wild forest mushroom
"It's a little scary."

Beaucage says he called the telephone number listed at the bottom of the notice, looking for more information but he didn't receive a returned call.

Normally summer is prime time for Beaucage to go looking in the woods for wild things to eat.

"Right now you can pick wild strawberries, you can pick beaked hazelnuts, maybe raspberries some places. I ate blueberries already this year," he said.

"I pick chanterelles, bolete (mushrooms). There's a variety of plants that are edible and are delicious that are growing right now."

But Beaucage doesn't want to eat food that has been sprayed.

Professor of chemistry at the University of Moncton, Olivier Clarisse says the active chemical in Forza is glyphosate. It's use is allowed by Health Canada, but the long term affects aren't known yet.
University of Moncton chemistry Prof. Olivier Clarisse says Beaucage is right to be concerned.

"If he goes just after it's spread out … and he sees mushrooms wet with the chemical, I would not eat it."

According to Clarisse, the active chemical in the herbicide being sprayed is glyphosate. It's allowed to be used in New Brunswick and is approved by Health Canada, but he adds the World Health Organization listed the chemical as "of possible cause of concern" just this year.

Meanwhile, Beaucage is hoping to find out more about the spraying

"I would like to be informed that they don't use it anymore, they don't do it anymore, so I'm free to go anywhere and pick up berries, walk in [the woods] without having a concern [about] being sick and catching cancer down the road."