Food Industry

Published on July 12th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe


How USDA May Have Deregulated All GM Crops

gmo warning sign

Did language from a USDA decision late last Friday open the genetically modified floodgates?

When USDA announced last Friday that they were deregulating a genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass it didn’t quite sounds like food news, but according to analysis at Mother Jones, what they actually may have done was deregulate all genetically modified crops.

Wait, what?

Scotts (makers of Miracle Gro and distributors for Monsanto RoundUp) petitioned USDA to approve the genetically engineered grass, which is glyphosate resistant. Glyphosate, or Monsanto RoundUp, is a pesticide used on many genetically modified crops and is linked to health problems including birth defects.

So, what does this have to do with food? Everything. The savvy folks at Mother Jones noticed this little gem buried in the USDA response to Scotts’ request for approval:

In its July 1 response, the USDA agreed: “[N]one of the organisms used in generating this genetically engineered (GE) glyophosphate tolerant Kentucky bluegrass…are considered to be plant pests,” so Roundup Ready bluegrass “does not meet the definition of a ‘regulated article’ and is not subject” to the Plant Protection Act. In other words, go forth and multiply.

What does this mean? It sets the precedent that if a genetically engineered plant is not considered a “plant pest” (aka: a weed), it doesn’t need to be regulated.

Like alfalfa, grass cross-pollinates like mad. Because it spreads so easily, The Center for Food Safety had petitioned to have the plant treated like a weed, but USDA shot that down by reasoning that GM grass is no less a weed than regular grass, which people plant on purpose all the time. As Mother Jones points out:

That’s highly debatable, since anyone who wants to address weed problems from conventional bluegrass can turn to Roundup, the nation’s most-used herbicide, whereas dealing with rogue Roundup Ready bluegrass means resorting to chemicals far more toxic

USDA may have essentially changed the rules, deregulating GM crops and giving the public and advocacy groups like The Center for Food Safety no legal recourse for challenging them.

What You Can Do

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) is one of the major opponents to GMOs, so giving them your support can help them fight this battle.

In the meantime, we can fight for the right to know if the products we’re buying contain genetically modified ingredients.

CFS also launched a Truth in Labeling campaign, demanding that GM foods be labeled. You can donate to support their cause. They’ve delivered a petition to the FDA asking for truth in labeling. Millions Against Monsanto makes it easy to send a letter to your grocer asking them to label GM foods.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by josefstuefer

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Tags: , , ,

About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

One Response to How USDA May Have Deregulated All GM Crops

  1. Pingback: nobody wants it « o'rissa @ theLoosh

Back to Top ↑
  • Support our Site!

  • Let’s Connect!

  • Popular Posts & Pages

    Whether you are looking to completely give up animal products or just want to try eating vegan some of the time, we want to support you! Below, you’ll find articles answering some common questions about vegan cooking and nutrition. If you don’t see your question answered below, please get in touch with us! We are happy to investigate for you!

    Find out what's in season now, plus get plenty of recipe inspiration to help you make the most of every season's beautiful, local fare.

    I love infographics. When I came across this one about what, how, and when to plant vegetables, I thought I’d share. Keep reading after the pic for a few of my own lessons learned.

    Top Sustainable Food Jobs of the Week.

    Looking for an all vegan grocery store? Even if you’re not lucky enough to have one in your town, there are lots of online options for vegan grocery shopping.

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.