Tag Archives: USDA

Some thoughts from an organic farmer on the US farm bill

Thierry Vrain is an organic farmer in Comox, BC. Here are his thoughts on the US farm bill Continue reading

US Dept of Agriculture provides .5million$ for GE fish

USDA provides half a million $ to support genetically modified fish

http://www.grist.org/food/2011-09-29-feds-help-gmo-salmon-swim-upstream

Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous for Human Consumption

April: although this is not a GM post, I added it because those coming to the GE Free BC blog are interested in their health, and some of the ingredients in processed meats are GM. The world is waking up to the fact that this is NOT food:

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.

Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals. They are usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite also results in the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the human body. And this leads to a sharp increase in cancer risk for those who eat them.

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Seeds of Doubt for Monsanto Soybeans’ Yields

7/2/2010 8:10 AM By John O’Brien -Statehouse Bureau

CHARLESTONWest Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw is worried farmers are spending more for soybeans that are producing identical returns as less expensive ones.

McGraw wrote Monsanto Co. vice president David Snively last week to express his concern with promotions geared to encourage farmers to switch from soybeans with the Roundup Ready trait to those with the Roundup Ready 2 trait.

He says, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2009’s soybean output of 41 bushels per acre is the same as the previous year.

“Although we are aware that Monsanto’s initial commercial Roundup Ready 2 Yield sales for 2009 were not a full scale rollout, we would have expected to see some increased yield for West Virginia as a result of your company’s representation to farmers,” McGraw wrote.

“I am aware that other factors contribute to yields varying from year to year, such as weather or soil conditions, but virtually all of the studies conducted by major universities and independent testing companies corroborate West Virginia’s experience.”

Monsanto advertised increased yields of 7 percent-11 percent. McGraw said he welcomes a meeting with the company before litigation.

50 US Politicians Back GE Alfalfa Ban Permanently

By Carey Gillam

Following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on GE alfalfa – that means that it is illegal to plant Monsanto’s GE alfalfa, at least until the U.S. government has finished its environmental review.

Now, 50 U.S. politicians – Democrats and Republicans – are calling for a
continued ban even after the environment review. (This shows the
importance of this issue and is yet another indication that the fight on
GE alfalfa is far from a done deal even in the U.S!) Write to your MP and
ask them to do the same as the US politicians – send a letter instantly
from http://www.cban.ca/474action

**U.S. lawmakers call for continued ban on biotech alfalfa*
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2326472520100623

* Say USDA has “ignored” regulatory authority

* Say U.S. organic dairy industry threatened

KANSAS CITY, June 23 (Reuters) – More than 50 U.S. lawmakers are calling   on the U.S. Agriculture Department to keep Monsanto’s (MON.N) biotech alfalfa out of farm fields, despite a Supreme Court ruling this week that cleared the way for limited planting pending environmental reviews.

The lawmakers said the biotech alfalfa presents too great a risk to
conventional and organic agriculture to ever allow it.

“We believe that the broad regulatory authority available to you has been ignored, in order to justify deregulation of a biotech crop that has limited utility to anyone except the manufacturer,” the letter addressed to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack said.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, were joined by 49 other representatives and five
other senators in asking Vilsack to ensure that Monsanto’s genetically
engineered alfalfa is not approved for commercial use.

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No GMO Alfalfa in the USA! Courts rule!

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case brought by
Monsanto to stop the current injunction on planting GM alfalfa in the
U.S., has upheld the injunction! The National Farmers Union brought
forward Canada’s experience with GM canola to support the case. Now the US Department of Agriculture will be the deciding party on GM alfalfa – they
are preparing their final Environmental Impact Statement (as ordered by
the courts). Canadian groups also submitted comments to the USDA as part
of this process.

You can write to your MP today to support alfalfa farmers and request that
your MP supports Bill C-474 http://www.cban.ca/474action

July 21

SUPREME COURT ruling in “Monsanto Case” is victory for Center for Food Safety, Farmers

High Court Delivers Ruling That Leaves Ban on Planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa in Place in First-Ever Case on a Genetically-engineered Crop

Washington, DC June 21, 2010 – The Center for Food Safety today celebratedthe United States Supreme Court’s decision in Monsanto v. Geerston Farms, the first genetically modified crop case ever brought before the Supreme Court.  Although the High Court decision reverses parts of the lower courts’ rulings, the judgment holds that a vacatur bars the planting of
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation
occurs.  It is a victory for the Center for Food Safety and the Farmers
and Consumers it represents.

Continue reading

Article posts for GMO: May 20

April: There just wasn’t enough time in the day to post the really good stuff in full, so I am going to start listing the links to articles I think you may want or need.

HRAC members decide to boycott Genetically Modified foods

French Wine to Be Modified Genetically

Prisoners turn over a new leaf with eye on environment

Orwell-Speak Award Goes to Canada’s GM “Enviropig”

Protesters Block Monsanto in the Netherlands – Demanding End to GMOs

Facebook Page (Arzeena Hamir, GE Free Steering Committee) on Roger’s Sugar: asking us to send Roger’s an email on GMO Sugarbeets. Please let Roger’s know that you will not buy their products anymore.

Chemtrails and Monsanto’s New Aluminum Resistance Gene – Coincidence?

Monsanto Plant Shut Down by Activists in Europe

Lawsuit seeks to ban genetically modified sugar beets

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A group of Oregon farmers are seeking an injunction against this year’s planting of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets. The groups of organic farmers, food safety advocates and conservationists, is seeking to persuade a judge to ban the crop until the USDA provides a proper environmental impact statement proving that the crops are safe and that they will not cross-contaminate nearby fields.

The debate over whether or not to allow GE crops into the food supply has been a hotly debated one, but the biotech industry has been the side unable to prove that its products are safe. Those concerned about the negative consequences of GE crops have plenty of unresolved questions that demand answers prior to any GE crop being approved. Yet in reality, the USDA has succumbed to industry pressure instead, jeopardizing the entire food industry.

Nearly half of the nation’s sugar beets are genetically modified. They can be found planted on more than one million acres across ten states. The beets have been engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s “RoundUp” herbicide, but their components are not limited to the fields in which they are planted, spreading across the landscape via pollen and seeds carried in the wind. Because it is impossible to track where GE plant fragments end up, there is no ensuring that any crop is truly non-GE or organic.

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US Supreme Court case one of history’s most important for GMO’s

April: while this case may appear to be about GE alfalfa contaminating organic crops, it has a secondary, and in my opinion, worse outcome.

Monsanto is petitioning for an injunction to stop any future law suit against them for anything. This is the worst part, as no one could ever take them to court again for anything: this is very broad: crop damage, human diseases, environmental failures and chemical contamination.

What does this mean? Now we can only sit back and watch, as Monsanto can now do whatever they want, to whomever they please. And we can’t do a thing about it, legally.

Here is a lengthy post filled with information about the beginnings of this historic case. Remember fellow Canadians, this could be us. Bees don’t need passports. We wait on the edge of our seats to hear the outcome….

Supreme Court to take first look at Genetically Modified Crops in Case
with NEPA Implications

The New York Times, USA by Gabriel Nelson    22.04.2010

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday
involving a federal judge?s temporary ban on a breed of pesticide-
resistant alfalfa, setting the stage for the court’s first-ever ruling
on genetically modified crops.

Legal experts do not expect a blockbuster decision on the merits of
regulating modified plants such as Monsanto Co.’s Roundup Ready
alfalfa, but the case, Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, has drawn
widespread interest because the justices could issue a ruling that
would raise or lower the threshold for challenges under the National
Environmental Policy Act.

Environmental groups, which frequently use the statute to bring
lawsuits against government agencies and industry groups, ‘don’t
expect anything good’ to come from the Supreme Court’s eventual
decision, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel at the Sierra
Club. It seems that some of the justices are ‘on a kick to gut NEPA
remedies,’ he said earlier this year during a panel discussion on
environmental law at Georgetown University.

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New Administration at USDA Steps Up to End Organic Corruption

Industry Watchdog / Washington Post Investigation Brings Down Old Leadership


Washington
, DC: In a strong departure from Bush-era policy, the USDA’s National Organic Program released a memo today banning synthetic “accessory nutrients” — ending a scandal that brought down its former organic leadership.

At issue were some of the nation’s leading manufacturers of infant formula that had been illegally adding synthetic forms of omega-3 and omega-6 oils to their organic products after a sweetheart deal between a powerful industry lobbyist and Dr. Barbara Robinson, the former head of the USDA’s organic program—exposed by a 2009 investigative report in the Washington Post.

Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), by The Cornucopia Institute and shared with the Washington Post, indicated that Robinson, after meeting with Jay Friedman, a lawyer and lobbyist with the powerful Washington law firm of Covington Burling, rescinded a ruling made by USDA career civil servants who found the inclusion of synthetic oils in organic infant formula to be illegal.

“Justice prevailed in this matter but it took a change in the administration in Washington to make this happen,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute.

Problems and improprieties at the National Organic Program, during the Bush administration, were also profiled in a recently released audit from the USDA’s Inspector General’s office.

Cornucopia, an organic industry watchdog, first investigated the use of these “novel” nutritional oils, derived from soil fungus and algae, in infant formula, because they are extracted using a neurotoxic chemical, hexane, which is explicitly banned in organic production.  “We couldn’t understand why the USDA was allowing this to happen,” Kastel said.

Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act, as part of the 1990 farm bill, charging the USDA with defending the interests of ethical industry participants and protecting organic consumers against fraud.

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Monsanto prepares to go before Supreme Court to challenge alfalfa ban

Monsanto Co. filed a final reply brief with the U.S. Supreme Court this week in preparation for oral arguments scheduled for Tuesday on the biotech company’s challenge to a three-year-old ban on planting its genetically modified alfalfa seeds.

“This case is about fairness and choice for farmers,” said David Snively, Monsanto’s general counsel. “Farmers should be able to count on USDA approvals of biotech crops and know that any challenges to those approvals will be reviewed based on scientific evidence.”

In January, the Supreme Court said it would consider overturning a 2007 court order that has blocked Monsanto from selling alfalfa seeds that are genetically modified to resist its Roundup weed killer.

Five friends-of-the-court briefs have been filed in support of Monsanto by a total of 18 groups: American Farm Bureau Federation, Biotechnology Industry Organization, American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council and National Potato Council, Sugarbeet Growers Association, U.S. Beet Sugar Association and National Corn Growers Association, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Home Builders, CropLife America, The Washington Legal Foundation, Allied Education Foundation and the Pacific Legal Foundation. Find all of Monsanto’s court briefs in the alfalfa case here.

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Special Report: Are regulators dropping the ball on biocrops?

Carey Gillam COLUMBIA, Missouri    Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:45pm EDT
Robert Kremer, a U.S. government microbiologist who studies Midwestern farm soil, has spent two decades analyzing the rich dirt that yields billions of bushels of food each year and helps the United States retain its title as breadbasket of the world.
Kremer’s lab is housed at the University of Missouri and is literally in the shadow of Monsanto Auditorium, named after the $11.8 billion-a-year agricultural giant Monsanto Co.. Based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, the company has accumulated vast wealth and power creating chemicals and genetically altered seeds for farmers worldwide.

But recent findings by Kremer and other agricultural scientists are raising fresh concerns about Monsanto’s products and the Washington agencies that oversee them. The same seeds and chemicals spread across millions of acres of U.S. farmland could be creating unforeseen problems in the plants and soil, this body of research shows.

Kremer, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is among a group of scientists who are turning up potential problems with glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and the most widely used weed-killer in the world.

“This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” said Kremer, who expressed alarm that regulators were not paying enough attention to the potential risks from biotechnology on the farm, including his own research.

Concerns range from worries about how nontraditional genetic traits in crops could affect human and animal health to the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Biotech crop supporters say there is a wealth of evidence that the crops on the market are safe, but critics argue that after only 14 years of commercialized GMOs, it is still unclear whether or not the technology has long-term adverse effects.

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Researchers banned from studying Genetically Modified seeds

April: This is an important issue around GM foods and crops. An independent researcher (such as myself) cannot study Monsanto products. If you want to do an environmental study, you have to sign a contract first, and Monsanto has to approve the study before it’s published. There is no “freedom of study”.

How many of you out there knew this? Does this affect your impression of GM foods?

The following article sheds some light on this.

Under wraps
NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, VOLUME 27, NUMBER 10, October 2009

Click to access Biotech_crop_research_restrictions_Oct_2009.pdf

*Are the crop industry’s strong-arm tactics and close-fisted attitude to sharing seeds holding back independent research and undermining public acceptance of transgenic crops? Emily Waltz investigates.

The increasingly fractious relationship between public sector researchers and the biotech seed industry has come into the spotlight in recent months. In July, several leading seed companies met with a group of entomologists, who earlier in the year had lodged a public complaint with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over restricted access to materials. In a letter to the EPA, the 26 public sector scientists complained that crop developers are curbing their rights to study commercial biotech crops. “No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions involving these crops [because of company-imposed restrictions],” they wrote.

In turn, the seed companies have expressed surprise at the outcry, claiming the issue is being overblown. And even though the July meeting, organized by the American Seed Trade Association in Alexandria, Virginia, did result in the writing of a set of principles for carrying out this research, the seed companies are under no compunction to follow them. “From the researchers’ perspective, the key for this meeting was opening up communication to discuss the problem,” says Ken Ostlie, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, who signed the complaint. “It will be interesting to see how companies implement the principles they agreed upon.”

What is clear is that the seed industry is perceived as highly secretive and reluctant to share its products with scientists. This is fueling the view that companies have something to hide.

Who’s in control?

It’s no secret that the seed industry has the power to shape the information available on biotech crops, referred to variously as genetically engineered or genetically modified (GM) crops. Commercial entities developed nearly all of the crops on the US market, and their ownership of the proprietary technology allows them to decide who studies the crops and how. “Industry is completely driving the bus,” says Christian Krupke, an entomologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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Controversy Grows Over Brier Corporate Sponsor Monsanto

If anyone would like to “correct” the Canadian Curling
Association, you can write  to Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Curling Association 613-834-2076, ext 117

gstremlaw@curling.ca 1660 Vimont Court Cumberland, Ontario K4A 4J4

(Please, please email this man)

Halifax, Thursday, March 11, 2010 “The corporate sponsor of this
week’s Brier, biotechnology company Monsanto, is under intense
scrutiny from environmental, consumer and farmer groups in Nova
Scotia, and across Canada and the world.

“Many curling fans might be shocked to learn that the Brier sponsor
Monsanto is at the centre of farmer and consumer battles over
genetically engineered seeds and increasing corporate control in
farming,” said Marla MacLeod of Ecology Action Centre, a Nova Scotia-
wide environmental group. “We are saddened that the great Brier
championship is now associated with this relentlessly controversial
company,” said MacLeod.
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Monsanto’s GE alfalfa closer to U.S. approval & sales

Canadian farmer and consumer groups responded to an invitation to comment on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement created by the United States Department of Agriculture. The seed was first approved in 2005.
Saskatoon, Sask. – Canadian groups submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) completed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in hopes of dissuading approval of Monsanto’s GE alfalfa. The alfalfa, originally approved in 2005, was taken off the market by a court order after a coalition of groups took the USDA to court. The groups won a temporary ban of the release of the seed to the market, pending an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be prepared by the USDA. Now that the USDA has prepared the court required Draft EIS, the public was allowed time to comment, although Wednesday was the last day for submissions. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) issued a press release Wednesday to inform Canadians that at least three Canadian groups submitted

“… highly critical analyses to the USDA. They argue that GE alfalfa plantings in the U.S. would contaminate Canadian alfalfa and cause serious harm to Canadian farmers and the environment.”

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Stop GE Alfalfa from Contaminating Canadian Farms

Canadian Farm and Consumer Groups Urge U.S. Department of Agriculture  to Stop Monsanto’s New GE Seed

Saskatoon, March 3, 2010 – Today a number of prominent Canadian farmer  and consumer groups urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
not to permit the introduction of Monsanto’s genetically engineered
(GE) alfalfa in the U.S., citing serious concerns about the future of
organic food and farming in North America.

Is the US is blindly pushing GE Alfalfa through, with other crops to follow?

The USDA invited comments on their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of  allowing Monsanto’s GE (herbicide tolerant) alfalfa. Canadian groups including the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Beyond Factory  Farming, and the National Farmers Union – responded by submitting  highly critical analyses to the USDA. They argue that GE alfalfa  plantings in the U.S. would contaminate Canadian alfalfa and cause  serious harm to Canadian farmers and the environment.
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Farmers, Others Sue USDA Over Monsanto GMO Alfalfa

Date: 17-Feb-06
Country: USA
Author: Carey Gillam

Opening another front in the battle over genetically modified crops, the lawsuit contends that the US Department of Agriculture improperly is allowing Monsanto Co to sell an herbicide-resistant alfalfa seed while failing to analyse the public health, environmental, and economic consequences of that action.

“The USDA failed to do a full environmental review when they deregulated this genetically engineered alfalfa,” said Will Rastov, an attorney for Center for Food Safety, one of the plaintiffs. “They’re going to wreak untold dangers into the environment.”

Read More Here

USDA extends GM Alfalfa Deadline!

Dear Alfalfa-Lovers! The USDA has extended it’s deadline (for comments) of Feb 16 to March 3!

URL Troubles to USDA Site: Please see that the full URL in the alfalfa
action alert leads to the right USDA page but the full address was not
hyperlinked in yesterday’s action alert – so please cut and paste the
full URL address into your web-URL bar to find the site <http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=0900006480a6b7a1
>

Good News: The USDA has extended the Comment Period to March 3!

Some of you have also found the USDA form is restricting the length of
your letter but others have been able to cut and paste their full
letter without troubles.

Please find below a revised Action Alert with the new date and
hopefully protection against partial hyperlinking!

Thank you for your action!

Best regards,

Lucy Sharratt

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Anderson Cooper: Mother Earth actually has the capacity to feed her people

By April Reeves

Anderson Cooper reports on a series by David Gewirtz, author of “How To Save Jobs“. David suggests the following:

From AC360: Next up was a look at grain consumption. Grain has always been an indicator of even the most basic of civilization, so a look at how the middle-classing of developing countries would affect the food supply based on grain usage seemed appropriate.

This time, I used data from the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture Production. Worldwide, humans consume about 1.9 billion metric tons of grain each year.

Today, the United States consumes about 287 million metric tons of grain, or about 14.8 percent of the world’s total supply.

China consumes slightly more than we do, at about 406 million metric tons of grain, or about 21 percent of the world’s supply.

India has a lot of starving people, and that shows in its grain use. India consumes only about 196 million metric tons of grain, about 10 percent of the world’s total. You can see India’s ups and downs written in the numbers. Some years, like 1993, their grain consumption went up 5.6 percent. But other years, like 2001, their grain consumption dropped by 4.3 percent. Neither of these are big fluctuations, but it does show some years Indian citizens ate a little more and other years, they ate a little less.

What if they consume grain at the same rate as we do here?

Continue reading

Appeal to farmers and consumers – Act now to stop GM alfalfa

Send your comments to the US Department of Agriculture by February 16,
2010.

Its not yet legal for Monsanto to sell its GM alfalfa seeds in Canada
but a US injunction on planting in that country could soon be
overturned. If GM alfalfa is planted in the US, it will quickly
contaminate our food system as well as Canadian alfalfa crops. It will
also lead to the legalization of GM alfalfa in Canada (Canada approved
Monsanto’s GM Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2005 but it still needs variety
registration as a last step before commercialization here).

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) was court-ordered to conduct
an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on alfalfa and GM alfalfa
plantings were halted until this EIS was satisfactorily completed.
This draft EIS is now out for comment until February 16. Farmers and
their organizations in Canada are encouraged to send comments about
the expected impact of GM alfalfa contamination. Consumers are also
asked to express their concern.

Our strong action could stop GM alfalfa and result in an unprecedented
ruling about the real contamination risks of GM.

Please take one of these three actions.

1. Send comments from the web: Our partner in the US, The Center of
Food Safety, has launched an action where consumers and farmers can
send comments from their website http://ga3.org/campaign/alfalfaEIS

2. Coordinate with us to write your substantial comments – Please also
send us your comments and cc them to the Minister of Agriculture and
Agriculture Critics from other Parties. Contact Lucy Sharratt, CBAN
Coordinator at 613 241 2267 ext.6 or coordinator@cban.ca

3. Sign your group to the “No to GMO Alfalfa” statement http://www.cban.ca/alfalfa

The “No to GMO Alfalfa” Campaign in Canada is coordinated by the
Organic Agriculture Protection Fund of the Saskatchewan Organic
Directorate and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

For more information: http://www.cban.ca/alfalfa coordinator@cban.ca
613 241 2267 ext. 6

Tell the US Government That You Care About GE Contamination of Organic
Food!

In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the Department of
Agriculture (USDA) for its illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically
engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa.  The federal courts sided with
CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of
the plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in a rigorous
analysis known as an environmental impact statement (or EIS). USDA
released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009.  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.

CFS has begun analyzing the EIS and 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 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 GE Contamination of Organic Crops and
Food!
http://ga3.org/campaign/alfalfaEIS

This alert was published by the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund of
the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate and the Canadian Biotechnology
Action Network. January 2010.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Green light again for GM alfalfa in the USA

(21 January 2010) In the USA, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends to permit the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa once more. This recommendation is based on a newly-completed environmental impact assessment. Year-long legal conflicts were antecedent.

From GMO Compass, a good resource site

The cultivation approval of herbicide-tolerant GM alfalfa issued in 2005 was revoked in 2007 after a Californian court ordered the thorough environmental impact assessment. Diverse environmental groups and consumer associations had filed suit against the approval. The plaintiffs accused the administration of insufficient investigation with regard to possible environmental damage, such as may occur through outcrossing with conventional plants or wild relatives as well as through the spread of resistant weeds.

The GM alfalfa was developed by the agro-biotechnology firm Monsanto and displays tolerance to herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate (RoundupReady).

By court ordinance, the cultivation of GM alfalfa was subject to strict constraints: for example, fields intended for planting required approval from the agricultural authority. Special obligations applied to the transport, storage and labeling of the harvest. Monsanto filed high-level suits against these constraints and negotiations are expected this year.

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Resistant weeds increase Pesticide use on GE crops

New Report Reveals Dramatic Rise in Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops Due to the Spread of Resistant Weeds

http://www.organic-center.org
GE crops increase herbicide use by 383 million pounds from 1996 to
2008, with 46 percent of the total increase occurring in 2007 and 2008

Genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybeans and cotton have increased use of weed-killing herbicides by 383 million pounds in the U.S. from 1996 to 2008, according to a new report titled “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First 13 Years (PDF)” announced today by The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the
Center for Food Safety (CFS). In addition, GE corn and cotton have reduced insecticide use by 64 million pounds, resulting in an overall increase of 318 million pounds of pesticides over the first 13 years of commercial use.
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