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Urgent: Tell the USDA What YOU Think about GMOs in Organics

By Joe Dickson, February 18, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Joe Dickson
UPDATE 02/18/10: The comment period has been extended until March 3, 2010  You still have time to have your voice and opinions heard!  The easiest way to send your comments to the USDA is on the True Food Project's Take Action website. ---------------------------------------------------- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently considering whether or not to approve the use of genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready alfalfa. Their report says you don't care about GMOs in organics. Comments are due to them by February 16th, so read on to hear how you can help. (Or go directly to the True Food Project's Take Action website.) alfalfa_field As part of the approval process, they are required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a detailed analysis of how the crop will affect the environment, organic and conventional farmers, farm animals, and the public. They've released their EIS on GE alfalfa, and here's how the True Food Network at The Center for Food Safety summarized the issue in a recent Action Alert:
In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its illegal approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa. The federal courts sided with CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in a rigorous analysis known as an environmental impact statement (or EIS). USDA released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009. A 60-day comment period is now open until February 16, 2010. This is the first time the USDA has done this type of analysis for any GE crop. Therefore, the final decision will have broad implications for all GE crops.
That Environmental Impact Statement, unfortunately, contains a number of questionable statements and conclusions. The part of the EIS that worries us the most is the claim that buyers of organic foods don't care if those products are contaminated with GMOs (genetically modified, or genetically engineered, organisms). We know that nothing could be further from the truth, and that a huge number of our shoppers care deeply about avoiding GMOs in the foods they buy. We've gone to great lengths to keep GMOs out of organic foods and, through our work with The Non-GMO Project, have helped advance North America's first standards and verification program for Non-GMO foods. We are intent on preserving our ability to provide non-GMO options for our shoppers. Every newly-approved GMO crop erodes our ability to provide non-GMO food, and leads to contamination of organic and non-GMO crops, due to pollen drift and other forms of contamination. What can YOU do? The True Food Project has set up a Take Action website to help you easily submit your comments to the USDA. These are due by February 16th so take the time to do it now. Please use the CFS's form letter as a guide and personalize it as you see fit - let the USDA know exactly why you're concerned about this issue, what you think about GMOs in your food, and what you think they should do with the approval of GE alfalfa. In our own comments to the USDA, we emphasized a few key facts:
  • Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods.
  • The contamination of organic and non-GE crops by GE material has presented a huge burden for our company and our industry.
  • The unchecked proliferation of GE crops will directly harm organic producers and the integrity of the organic label.
  • The approval of GE alfalfa would do more harm than previously approved GE crops, since alfalfa is a perennial crop.
Everyone has their own opinion about GMOs; please tell your story to the USDA via the True Food Project action campaign by February 16th. We'd love to read what you think in the comment section below, but make sure you send your comments to the USDA first!
Category: Food Issues

 

119 Comments

Comments

Scott Feldpausch says ...
Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods. The contamination of organic and non-GE crops by GE material has presented a huge burden for our company and our industry. The unchecked proliferation of GE crops will directly harm organic producers and the integrity of the organic label. The approval of GE alfalfa would do more harm than previously approved GE crops, since alfalfa is a wind-pollinated perennial crop.
02/11/2010 6:36:06 PM CST
Diane says ...
Thank you for this information. Going to leave my comments now for the USDA.
02/08/2010 4:46:06 PM CST
SUsan Boyer says ...
Can you not leave the best thing we have going alone!!!!!!!!
02/08/2010 5:28:01 PM CST
Sean C says ...
I think it's about time that the government finally got involved with the approval of GMO's. It is a long time coming. I think it's ridiculous to think that people don't care about what they are eating. I will definetly be looking into what I can do to make sure that GMO's are either banned or strictly regulated.
02/08/2010 5:34:41 PM CST
Fair Trade says ...
I suspect that whatever people think Monsanto will get their way... tragic. GMO is IMO one of the greatest threats to humanity.
02/09/2010 7:18:03 AM CST
Geneve Rege says ...
NO GMOs IN ORGANICS
02/16/2010 8:21:10 PM CST
P. S. Blodgett says ...
Definitely NO to GMO's in All Organic Foods and all other foods, as well. I think All Organic Products need to have stricter guidelines about what Organic really is. There are too may larger companies now claiming to have Organic products, but are really not all organic. I recently learned that Coleman's Meats was actually purchased two years ago by Meyer's Pharmaceuticals. I will not buy any of their products ever again. I do not trust that their products would still be organic and not filled with GMO's! It is very creepy that a company that makes pharmaceuticals purchased an "Organic Meats" company. Very suspicious, indeed! It does make sense why so many illnesses do not react to antibiotics, and people get sicker. Due to all the antibiotics, hormones, pesticides put into meat and produce, and the environment. people are getting ill through all this contamination. My family and pets eat all organic, and we are healthier than many other people we see around us. Anyone who eats organic knows this too! We also use all natural healing methods, when needed. This is safer and boosts the immune system so it can do what it is meant to do. I will not purchase anything with GMO'S!
02/15/2010 4:33:11 PM CST
Barbara Ortner says ...
In order to have a better future for this population, we need to take care of what we put in our bodies TODAY. Organic is the way to go to achieve that, but then how come is 3 times more expensive than toxic food? Please help us. Thank you.
02/15/2010 4:26:31 PM CST
Jon H. says ...
To USDA: As a consumer of organic fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, bread, etc. for the health of my family and of guests at my table, I would be outraged if USDA does not take immediate and 100% effective steps to prevent the contamination of organic products by genetically engineered alfalfa and other GE materials. USDA would be grossly irresponsible and potentially criminally liable if it were to allow GE alfalfa. One immediate and costly effect of allowing GE alfalfa would be to put at risk the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture today: organic agriculture. GE alfalfa would devastate not only domestic sales of organic products but would very likely make it impossible to export U.S. grown organic products. In addition to this immediate threat to both domestic and export sales of organic products, allowing GE alfalfa would create a long-term health risk to the entire U.S. population. At a time of great public concern over U.S. healthcare costs, it makes no sense to allow GE alfalfa, with the risk that in future years the country's healthcare costs could balloon by billions to deal with the consequences of allowing GE alfalfa. Individually, I will buy imported organic products if the U.S. organic industry is destroyed as a result of USDA allowing GE alfalfa. I have no doubt that millions of other consumers will do the same, with the result that the U.S. organic industry will be driven out of business at a huge cost to the U.S. economy. I beg you to consider not only consumers like myself but consider the thousands of family farmers whose businesses would be destroyed. Finally, please consider the health and well-being of your own children and grandchildren. Do not take an irreversible step by permitting GE alfalfa! Sincerely yours, Jon H. Harsch
02/15/2010 7:01:40 PM CST
Marina C says ...
NO GMOs IN ORGANICS
02/16/2010 2:30:24 PM CST
Laura says ...
Because it has become increasingly harder to find products that are non-GMO I've begun doing my own gardening and canning with ALL non-GMO seed. It is of great concern that they would even consider allowing GMOs to be sold as "organic". They are mutating our food and as of yet do not understand the effects on our health. Please allow us the option of buying a product that is as pure and un-manipulated as possible. GMO has NO place in an organic market!
02/11/2010 4:14:35 PM CST
jessica carle says ...
KEEP GMO'S OUT OF ORGANICS. They have no place in commodity products, and certainly none in organic lines
02/12/2010 4:12:04 PM CST
Joseph Varilone says ...
I don't want GMO's in organic food!
02/11/2010 8:10:23 AM CST
cheryl mcafee says ...
I care just watch foodinc. dvd what a eye opener.
02/16/2010 2:17:01 PM CST
Andi says ...
I sent in a letter, and I hope others will also do so. What floors me is that somewhere, someone actually thought such a stupid statement sounded plausible.
02/16/2010 2:23:15 PM CST
Elliott Kim says ...
Introduction of GMO's automatically means it's NOT organic! You can't slip one past us USDA!
02/18/2010 12:05:25 PM CST
Anne Hilliard says ...
Stop the GMOs! I am committed to shopping organic. No hormones, no antibiotics, no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, NO GMOs.
02/13/2010 8:43:43 AM CST
Amy Holton says ...
"Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods." Exactly. They will definitely be hearing from me. Thanks so much for placing this so prominently on your website. Otherwise, I'd be completely unaware.
02/15/2010 12:45:22 PM CST
Chuckles Mcgee says ...
Fear of genetically modified organisms is an expression of ignorance that represents a step backwards for society. There's nothing inherently dangerous about GMOs, and while proper testing is needed prior to the planting of a crop (as is being done right now by the USDA), the only dangers GMOs pose are in the expression of particular proteins knocked into the new crops and implications that could occur if such crops interbreed with local species. If the proteins are known to be non-allergenic and there's no problem with crossing the crop, by all means do it. Fewer pesticides, higher yields, better returns for farmers and lower prices for the consumer are all potential windfalls.
02/08/2010 11:01:04 PM CST
Deborah Bradford says ...
There are enough indications that GE foods can be harmful,that I choose NOT to eat them. It is extremely important to me to know that when I choose organic foods,they are not contaminated by GE crops. There's just TOO much that we don't know about the long term affects of GE food. I believe that in the fullness of time,future generations will look back on GE foods,if we don't curb and control them,and think that we must have been completely out of our minds.
02/08/2010 11:02:50 PM CST
Melinda says ...
GMO's are not all bad. Whole Foods you disappoint me. You all need to take some general Molecular Genetic classes.
02/08/2010 3:27:51 PM CST
E. J. Taylor says ...
ABSOLUTE NO TO GMOs I have severe food allergies. * Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods. * The contamination of organic and non-GE crops by GE material has presented a huge burden for our company and our industry. * The unchecked proliferation of GE crops will directly harm organic producers and the integrity of the organic label. * The approval of GE alfalfa would do more harm than previously approved GE crops, since alfalfa is a wind-pollinated perennial crop.
02/08/2010 12:02:28 PM CST
Robyn O'Brien says ...
We do not yet know if a child with a milk allergy, the most common food allergy in the US (according to CNN and the Wall Street Journal) is allergic to rBGH, the first genetically engineered food protein, because no human tests were ever developed or run. Nor do we know if a child with soy allergy is allergic to Round Up Ready soy, introduced in the 1990s to withstand the spraying of weedkillers, because, again, no tests were ever developed or run. Rather than engage the 1 in 3 American children with allergies, asthma, autism or ADHD in yet another live human trial and risk the introductio of "alfalfa allergy", perhaps we should enlist the precautionary principal, as other developed countries have done, and wait until these products have been proven safe - rather than continue to proceed because they have not yet been proven dangerous. Our children deserve nothing less.
02/08/2010 12:19:35 PM CST
Rhonda Gendron Murphy says ...
Thank you for letting us know about this.. very worrisome indeed.
02/08/2010 12:31:01 PM CST
Danielle Rodriguez says ...
Ok where to start....how can these even be a option are u kidding me really.
02/08/2010 12:31:02 PM CST

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