On January 27, 2011, the USDA de-regulated – (in other words, they approved) – Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa, in order for it to be widely planted this spring. This was done despite the fact that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) identified many risks and unanswered questions.
The distributor of GE Alfalfa, Forage Genetics International, wasted no time:
February 3, 2011 - Roundup Ready Alfalfa Seed Sales To Begin
Alfalfa growers can begin contacting seed dealers about ordering Roundup Ready varieties, says Mark McCaslin, president of Forage Genetics International.
The end result: lost income for farmers, fewer choices for farmers and consumers, and no transparency about GE contamination of local and organic foods.
Why farmers and consumers should be concerned:
It is time for the US government to support more than just the biotech approach to agriculture. Approving the unrestricted planting of GE alfalfa is clearly a case of the USDA giving preference to one form of agriculture over another and caving in to special interests over public good.
As everyone predicted, the de-regulation of GE Alfalfa was quickly followed by a ruling on GE sugar beets. On February 4, 2011, the USDA partially deregulated GE sugar beets, following a court decision that called for a complete ban.
The Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers (FOOD Farmers) representing over 1400 organic dairy farmers across the country asks you to call, email or fax the White House.
President Obama can stop the de-regulation and allow time for independent scientific evaluation of public health, environmental, and economic consequences of that release, ongoing government oversight and protection, and a plan for compensation of those harmed by accidental contamination:
Please call or email:
President Barack Obama
Comment line: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461
DONATE TO THE CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY. Their legal work has been at the forefront of this fight, and is the reason that USDA had to admit the health and environmental impacts from GE crops.
By Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director
NODPA supports the National Organic Coalition's position on de-regulation
Prior to any de-regulation of new genetically-engineered crops, A GE contamination plan is essential to protect all non-GM crops. At a minimum, the following 7 points must be addressed transparently and fairly (for all stakeholders involved):
For background on the GE Alfalfa issue, see NODPA's own article >
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