USDA approved Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa today.
The problem with GM alfalfa goes beyond the usual issues with GM crops. Since alfalfa cross-pollinates easily, this genetically engineered crop is guaranteed to contaminate organic crops. If you oppose GM alfalfa, you can send a letter to President Obama urging him to stop this approval.
Update: Our friends at Food & Water Watch just released a statement about this issue and the biotech industry’s influence in our government. Here it is, in full:
Once again, Biotech Lobby Tramples Rights of Farmers and Consumers
“We are extremely dismayed that the USDA has buckled under the pressure of biotech industry by deciding to allow the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa. Allowing GE alfalfa will have long-term, far reaching consequences on many aspects of agriculture, putting non-GE and organic seed supplies at risk of contamination by GE alfalfa. The USDA has given lip service to these concerns, but today’s decision by the agency demonstrates the financial influence that well-connected biotech lobbyists wield over our federal agencies and Congress.
“Today, in conjunction with the decision to allow unrestricted planting of GE alfalfa, the USDA has also announced a series of measures to try to understand the way that GE alfalfa could contaminate other crops. This is the first time the agency has acknowledged these issues, and unfortunately, these steps should have been taken before the agency decided to release this crop into the food supply, not after.
“The biotech lobby talks about a science-based approach, but they’ve conveniently neglected the science of nature — the threat of contamination of non-GE alfalfa fields and the proliferation of “superweeds” that will require even more toxic herbicides and chemicals to contain.”
A Food & Water Watch analysis released in November, 2010, found that food and agriculture biotechnology firms and trade associations have hired on as lobbyists at least 13 former members of Congress and over 300 former congressional and White House staffers through well-connected lobbying shops. To download the issue brief, click here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/briefs/food-and-agriculture-biotechnology-industry-influence/
This is a stark contrast to the government in Mexico, where officials just denied Monsanto’s request to expand its pilot project with genetically modified corn.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by tea_time