A post by Organic Valley notes:
“This Thursday, Secretary Vilsack of the USDA has been called to testify to the House of Representatives to explain why his department has not yet deregulated Roundup Ready Alfalfa for unrestricted use. Roundup Ready Alfalfa is a GMO (genetically modified organism) which can be sprayed with Roundup (a potent herbicide) and not die. The alfalfa is then harvested and is a main component of conventional (not organic) cows’ diets.”
Now in case you’re not GMO savvy (no worries, it’s a big issue) here are some points to consider:
- GMO sprayed crops like alfalfa, corn and soybeans don’t stay in their own fields. Organic farmers, along with organic consumers have to deal with pesticide drift and other contamination problems. For example, when a crop is sprayed, those pesticides can drift to a nearby field, affecting organic crops. This can harm organic farmers because if pesticide residue is found on their crops, retailers and consumers may turn away from purchases. Right now, organic farmers are carrying the entire burden of preventing contamination. Solutions are needed that one, hold biotechnology companies at least somewhat responsible and two, that allow organic and non-GMO agriculture to thrive without GMO pollution.
- GMO crops are not proven safe yet so consumers should have the final say on what they’re buying. However, the government doesn’t want to label GMOs because they don’t feel consumers have the right to know what they’re eating.
- GMOs, as noted above have not been studied enough. No one knows the long-term consequences of growing and eating genetically modified foods, although current researchers suspect that allergic reactions, the creation of new allergies, gene mutation, antibiotic resistance, loss of nutrition and damage to the environment may be the risks. Additionally consider that once you mess with genes, that gene pollution can’t be fixed.
- It’s estimated that 70% of all processed food at your supermarket contain genetically modified ingredients; not that you’d know, because there’s no labeling required.
- As usual, when it comes to health issues, GMO problems make Americans look lame and behind in the times. Already the European Union, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many other nations require mandatory GMO labeling. Not the USA though. Go us!
- Spraying may have dire consequences for agriculture according to some research. Problems may include infertile soil, spoiled crops and plants that are diseased and/or less nutritious.
WHY TAKE ACTION?:
Organic Valley notes that Secretary Vilsack has acted wisely (although I think they’re being a bit too generous with the word “wise”), having reviewed the potential environmental and economic impacts of Roundup Ready Alfalfa on all sectors of the agricultural market, including organic and conventional non-GMO markets. Plus, Vilsack has called together various leaders of the different sectors to open up a conversation that may help find a solution that would allow organic and conventional/non-GMO agriculture to coexist with the inevitable sale and planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa.
Fast forward and some members of Congress aren’t thrilled that this conversation is even happening. These folks think that complete deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa should be allowed right away, with no thought given to non-GMO markets or consumers.
HOW TO TAKE ACTION:
Organic Valley offers this suggestion: Call today and ask your Congressperson to do two things:
1. Call House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and express support for the wise actions of Secretary Vilsack.
2. Support the coexistence conversations and find solutions that protect organic and non-GMO farmers and markets.
You can also…
- Send Secretary Vilsack a letter about why he needs to stand up for America’s organic farmers and consumers and ban genetically modified alfalfa permanently.
- Boycott Kellogg’s
- Tell American Crystal that you will avoid GE sugar by boycotting all non-organic brands that don’t assure consumers that their sugar is GMO-free.
Other good reads: