USDA released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Monsanto's GE, Roundup Ready alfalfa on December 14, 2009, and a 60-day comment period is now open until February 16, 2010. This is the first time the USDA has done this type of analysis for any GE crop. Therefore, the final decision will have broad implications for all GE crops.
It is clear that the USDA has not taken the concerns of non-GE alfalfa farmers, organic dairies, or consumers seriously. USDA’s preliminary determination is to once again deregulate GE alfalfa without any limitations or protections for farmers or the environment. Instead USDA has completely dismissed the fact that contamination will threaten export and domestic markets and organic meat and dairy products. And, incredibly, USDA is claiming that there is no evidence that consumers care about such GE contamination of organic!
USDA also claims that consumers will not reject GE contamination of organic alfalfa if the contamination is unintentional or if the transgenic material is not transmitted to the end milk or meat product, despite the fact that more than 75% of consumers believe that they are purchasing products without GE ingredients when they buy organic.
USDA claims that Monsanto’s seed contracts require measures sufficient to prevent genetic contamination, and that there is no evidence to the contrary. But in the CFS lawsuit requiring this document, the Court found that contamination had already occurred in the fields of several Western states with these same business-as-usual practices in place!
USDA predicts that the approval of GE alfalfa would damage family farms and organic markets, yet doesn’t even consider any limitations or protections against this scenario. Small, family farmers are the backbone and future of American agriculture and must be protected. Organic agriculture provides many benefits to society: healthy foods for consumers, economic opportunities for family farmers and urban and rural communities, and a farming system that improves the quality of the environment. However, the continued vitality of this sector is imperiled by the complete absence of measures to protect organic production systems from GE contamination and subsequent environmental, consumer, and economic losses.
Tell USDA That You DO Care About Genetic Contamination of Organic Crops and Food!
If you care about the future of the food in this country and ultimately the world, you must join the fight of the Center for Food Safety. http://truefoodnow.org/