Friday, January 21, 2011

USDA to Approve Altered Alfalfa; Voice Your Concern

The USDA is on the verge of allowing the planting of genetically engineered (aka genetically modified) alfalfa this spring. According to an alert I received yesterday from the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), this is a big deal that should worry us all:
Organic standards do not allow the use of GE crops, including for animal feed. Alfalfa is a major feed crop for dairy and beef cattle and a key component of many pastures where livestock are raised.

If USDA decides to allow GE alfalfa to be planted, it puts organic farmers at risk of widespread GE contamination.

Alfalfa is one of the most commonly planted crops in the U.S. and represents a substantial new market for Monsanto’s genetically engineered, Roundup Ready seeds. USDA acknowledges the threat of GE contamination, and yet they are poised to allow the planting of alfalfa using an unrealistic scheme for containing GE alfalfa’s contamination threat.
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds, as I’ve mentioned before, are used in tandem with Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, which pretty much kills everything in the soil . . . except Roundup Ready seeds.

(Roundup is especially dangerous, as it is a systemic pesticide, meaning that it is absorbed by plants. The majority of non-organic corn and soy grown in the United States is genetically engineered and is found in almost all packaged and processed foodstuffs. Monsanto is the world’s largest seed company. )

Contamination of organic dairy and beef can easily happen, as it is not uncommon for GE seed to find its way from conventional to organic farms (via wind, bees, etc.). The GE alfalfa will then grow in organic pastures, to be eaten by cows producing organic meat and milk.

Click here to send an email (first paragraph below) to the USDA.

I urge you to reject the approval of Monsanto's Roundup Ready genetically engineered alfalfa. I care about the integrity of the food I eat, and don't want organic and other non-genetically engineered crops to be contaminated by genetically engineered alfalfa.
Also, click here to read a blog post by Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, a senior scientist at PAN who discusses the issue in more detail.

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