USDA poised to approve new GMO seed

GMO corn field, photo by Bob Bell, flickr

GMO corn field, photo by Bob Bell, flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may well give its approval to a new genetically modified (GMO) seed which is manipulated to live through sprayings of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide, a chemical cocktail containing both glyphosate and an older toxic chemical 2,4-D.

Contrary to the chemical company’s claims that GMO seeds would reduce the need for additional pesticide spraying, over the past decade chemical use has increased, and many weeds are no longer responding to glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup. All this has created “superweeds” permeating millions of acres of farmland.

This week’s USDA final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) suggests approval of the new GMO. This has many public food and safety experts saying that the American public faces unprecedented risks.

“USDA’s announcement is an outrageous abdication of USDA’s responsibility to protect our health and our food supply,” said  Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.

GMO crops such as cotton now require more not less pesticides to prevent pests such as this cotton bollworm

GMO crops now require more not less pesticides to prevent pests such as this cotton bollworm

Farmers are also upset about the decision. “Weed resistance is a major problem for farmers and we need a solution. This decision shows that the only options USDA is willing to consider are ones that lead to increased profits for chemical companies. We need to get off the pesticide treadmill, not increase the speed,” says George Naylor, a Center for Food Safety board member and Iowa corn and soybean farmer.

The USDA has acknowledged that Dow’s crops will trigger a three to seven-fold increase in agricultural use of 2,4-D, foster 2,4-D resistance in weeds and inhibit farmers’ use of non-chemical weed control methods.

How crazy is this!  To approve something that the agency that’s supposed to protect our food knows will wreak havoc on the environment and cause harm to farmers? If the USDA moves forward with this insanity, who has the American public’s back? And, given that there is still no national mandatory GMO labeling, how will consumers know that they’re eating these extraordinarily toxic-laden foods? Crazy doesn’t begin to describe the madness of this government agency taking this action. Lunacy is a more apt description.

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