I think it’s important to be informed about what’s going on in government. I find myself writing notes to Congressman on issues I feel strongly about. I try to stay on top of food and agricultural legislation. It is hard to find the time to keep up on such things, but since I have the freedom to do so I think it’s important to make the time.
I read on Civil Eats a while ago about Monsanto’s GE (genetically engineered) alfalfa. I don’t know about you but the dominance of GE crops is of great concern to me. I’m especially worried since there’s not required labeling for them so we can choose products to eat that don’t contain GE ingredients. I don’t want to consume GE products because of the lack of testing, but they are not labeled, I have to shun pretty much all processed food.
Since I know a lot of you are also concerned about the prevalence of GE crops, especially in the food system I thought I’d share this article from Civil Eats:
Beginning in 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) took legal action against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa. The federal courts agreed and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in an environmental impacts statement (EIS).
USDA released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009. A 60-day comment period is now open until February 16, 2010. CFS has begun analyzing the EIS and it is clear that the USDA has not taken the concerns of non-GE alfalfa farmers, or organic dairy farmers seriously, for example, having dismissed the fact that contamination will threaten export markets and domestic organic markets. You can review the EIS here and supplemental documents here.
This is the first time the USDA has prepared an EIS for any GE crop and therefore will have broad implications for all transgenic crops, and its failure to address the environmental and related economic impacts of GE alfalfa will have far-reaching consequences. CFS is spearheading a campaign to make sure all affected parties know and are involved in the public process and have the opportunity to comment.
This is a call to action to all who have concerns about the environmental and economic consequences of uncontrolled nation-wide growth of GE alfalfa, to all who believe in the public’s right to choose to eat non-GE food and the farmer’s right to sow the crop of his or her choice, and to those who care about the impacts of pesticides and invasive weeds on biodiversity and endangered species.
Farmers, dairy producers, scientists, public interest organizations, and all concerned citizenry must make sure their voices are heard in this important process. At this stage, the most critical thing anyone can do is provide public comments indicating their concerns with GE Roundup Ready Alfalfa.
In particular, the EIS dismisses the significance that GE alfalfa will broadly contaminate non-GE alfalfa. Opinions, studies (published or unpublished), anecdotal stories, and testing data about how contamination will occur and /or demonstrating that contamination has in fact occurred are critical.
The EIS also dismisses the significant adverse economic effects that GE contamination will have on non-GE conventional alfalfa seed or hay growers (e.g., export markets), or dairy production that rely on non-GE and organic alfalfa hay for forage. Studies (published or unpublished), anecdotal stories, and economic analysis showing harm through contamination is essential, especially markets that are GE sensitive or reject GE outright.
Submit your comments to USDA APHIS No Later Than February 16, 2010.
December 24th, 2009 By Zelig Golden
Since this is one of the first times we’ve had a chance to actually voice our concerns directly about the GE crops I’d like to encourage everyone to get involved. Let the powers that be know that there are a lot of concerned citizens that don’t want GE crops contaminating our farmland, organic crops, and our food system. GE alfalfa would further contaminate our food system even more, think about all the animals that are fed hay. Head on over to regulations.gov to let your voice be heard!
If you’d like to stay on top of food and agricultural issues the Center for Food Safety is a great place to go. Here’s their article about GE Alfalfa. The Organic Consumers Association is another great place to find information legislation that affects our food.
If you’d like to let your voice be heard write a letter NOW, the deadline is FEBRUARY 16, 2010