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PIK payments channeled EDB grain into markets

The Environmental Protection Agency confirms that the multibillion-dollar program for reducing excessive crop production in the United States has unintentionally increased the amount of EDB-contaminated grain on the market.

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The payment-in-kind (PIK) program, is bringing more grain out of stockpiles, some of which has been extensively fumigated with EDB, the San Francisco-based Mother Jones magazine reported Sunday in its latest edition.

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed the magazine's report, saying the problem ''came up repeatedly'' in the agency's planning discussions late last year restricting the chemical in food products. Ethylene dibromide (EDB) is a chemical used to kill pests in grain.

EPA spokesman Al Heier said EPA officials concluded the problem was beyond their authority ''because the PIK program was drawing to a close by the time we began looking at EDB contamination last year.''

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