December 22, 2010

USDA Weighs Restrictions on Genetically Modified Crops!

I can't believe this... so even if we refuse to eat GMO grown agriculture, we are getting GMO indirectly through the meat that we eat! :/ You know this would not even be an issue if our government never approved genetically modified seeds produced by Monsanto who's intent is to take over our food supply since they have 'patented' their seeds!


The Wall Street Journal
written by Bill Tomson
Friday December 17, 2010

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering imposing restrictions for the first time on where and how a genetically modified crop may be grown, in a move that could eventually affect a wide swath of the farm industry.

The USDA is considering approving the use of genetically modified alfalfa, a forage crop grown to feed livestock, but with limitations aimed at assuring that gene-altered crops don't contaminate fields of non-biotech crops, according to USDA officials. The new limitations could be particularly important to organic farmers, whose sales depend on assuring consumers that their products aren't artificially engineered, among other things.

To date, the USDA's approval of genetically modified crops has come without limiting their planting location or placing other conditions. USDA approval of genetically modified plants with restrictions would be a significant shift for the agency, which previously gave only blanket approvals or rejections.

The agency hasn't made a final decision on whether to put new restrictions on growing genetically modified alfalfa, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview.

The new approach would take some of the concerns of opponents of bioengineered crops into account but leave the USDA with flexibility to support the biotech industry.

Mr. Vilsack said he wants to assure that farmers who want to grow bioengineered crops and those who don't can prosper without confronting litigation that could stifle food production.

But Russell Williams, a director for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said planting restrictions on government-approved genetically modified crops would just add unnecessary burdens to farmers.

The alfalfa decision could set a precedent for how the agency deals with genetically modified sugar beets in the near future and other crops beyond that, USDA officials said. The vast majority of corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the U.S. are now genetically modified.

But it is still uncertain whether farmers will be allowed to plant genetically modified sugar-beet seeds in 2011. About 95% of the sugar beets harvested this year were genetically modified, but U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White on Aug. 13 invalidated the government's approval of genetically altered sugar beets.

Opponents of bioengineered crops say there hasn't been enough research done on the environmental consequences of the proliferation of these crops. Supporters say genetically engineered crops are vital to ensure food supplies for a rapidly growing world population.

Many farmers sell their crops to European or Asian buyers who pay premiums for assurances that there are no traces of biotech plants in their orders. In the U.S., foods labeled organic can't contain genetically modified ingredients under USDA rules.

Organic farmers go to great lengths to make sure their crops are free of any genetically modified plant material, including leaving their fields fallow for the first three years, said Christine Bushway, chief executive of the Organic Trade Association.

Americans bought $3.16 billion of organic farm products produced on 4.1 million acres of land in 2008, according to a recent USDA study.

"If our supply chain gets contaminated by GMOs, then we can't continue to grow," Ms. Bushway said.

1 comment:

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