Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday Thinking Green: Organic food vs. GMO crops

I rarely use my blog to write about political issues, but our food quality and preserving choice is one I feel strongly enough to devote space to here. 

Monsanto is on the verge of releasing GMO alfalfa.  If you at all value the quality of the food you eat, please take a moment to read this post and sign the petition linked at the end of this entry. Not only would GMO alfalfa almost certainly wind pollinate and contaminate organic crops, but there is also the potential for this to severely negatively impact small scale farmers, family farms, the eco-system, etc. The far reaching implications are frightening, but unknown, as not enough research has been done to safely introduce this product to the market. The biggest danger with allowing the introduction of GMO Alfalfa is that, unlike previous GMO introductions, this is a perennial crop. Monsanto's GMO soybeans have already resulted in creating uber-weeds that are resistant to Roundup causing new, more invasive weed control products to be created and, at times, causing farmers to implement intensive tilling farming methods - the very methods the GMO soybeans were created to eliminate.

From the Credo action site: "Stop Monsanto's GMO Alfalfa!

Organics are under attack again. Earlier this year, we let you know about Monsanto's efforts to market and sell its genetically modified (GMO) Roundup Ready (TM) alfalfa. The USDA has given initial signs that it is preparing to grant Monsanto approval to distribute its seed, even knowing that it is almost certain the crop's modified genes will contaminate non-GMO -- including organic -- alfalfa.

Fortunately, the possibility of the USDA giving Monsanto the green light has caught the attention of two leading members of Congress -- Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter DeFazio. They have written a "Dear Colleague" letter, addressed to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, asking him to maintain the ban on GMO alfalfa in order to protect farmers, the environment, and the organic industry.

If your members of Congress have not done so already, they have until the end of this week -- less than 24 hours -- to sign the letter and join their colleagues in asking Secretary Vilsack to maintain the ban on Monsanto's GMO alfalfa.

During the Bush administration, Monsanto illegally won USDA approval for its GMO alfalfa by convincing regulators to bypass a mandatory environmental review. In response to a lawsuit by consumer groups, the courts then stepped in and banned GMO alfalfa until the USDA followed the law.

During the USDA's public comment period on Monsanto's alfalfa application in March, CREDO Action members submitted over 77,000 comments asking the USDA to protect the organic sector by keeping the GMO seed off the market. Now, we need to generate the same kind of overwhelming response to members of Congress so they will tell Secretary Vilsack to protect organics and farmers instead of Monsanto's profits.

Sign the petition to your senators and representative today, urging them to sign on to the Leahy - DeFazio letter asking Secretary Vilsack to reject Monsanto's application to market and sell GMO alfalfa."

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