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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




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
Jeff says ...
1) I don't want anything GM foods in/around organic foods. 2) If you're not informed about GM foods watch, 'The World According to Monsanto' for free online (search the documentary on google). Or you can also search 'Genetically Modified' on Mercola.com - or there's plenty of other articles, books, etc. out there. 3) Take the extra 2 seconds to send in a letter... don't just think that everyone else is going to do it, and that your one doesn't matter!
02/08/2010 12:33:49 PM CST
Terence Klein says ...
This is a very important issue. Thank you for being proactive about this & letting us know before the damage is done. I will be sharing this story with everyone I can.
02/08/2010 1:13:55 PM CST
screwdestiny says ...
Thank you for sharing this scary issue with us. That's ridiculous that they're thinking of allowing it. And to say that people who buy organic don't care! Did they even consult anybody who buys organic? I highly doubt it. I don't pay 25% more for organic food just to be giving money to Monsanto.
02/08/2010 1:24:24 PM CST
Jessica Salazar says ...
HELL NO!!! they need to stop trying to change everything!! To say people don't care is an insult. Personally i dont buy organic food but still it is wrong what they are trying to do. First it start's off as organic then it will be real food then what else? i'm going to help stop this... Thanks for letting "us" people know cause it seem's no one else cars...
02/08/2010 1:50:11 PM CST
earthygirl says ...
Thank you for this news! After I watched a Dvd called "Unnatural Selection" I realized how important it really is to protect our rights to eat organic, non-Gmo foods. It is very important to also protect our crops from cross-contamination from any new sources. The right to farm organic crops should be of great concern-it seems to be a breach of basic human rights! If we keep missing with our land and nature, there may be no going back!
02/08/2010 1:56:59 PM CST
Jennifer P says ...
Thank you for the information. This is truly a concern. I buy organic because I want naturally grown food, not scientifically grown food.
02/08/2010 2:08:03 PM CST
denise petersen says ...
SERIOUSLY?! just the name, "round-up ready" is terrifying! on my way to the Take Action website now!
02/08/2010 2:25:40 PM CST
Ryan C. says ...
Thank you for the alert. I just submitted a litter through the True Food Project site. Please keep us up-to-date on this matter.
02/08/2010 2:30:41 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
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
Denise Rochon ND says ...
The reason I eat organic is that I want my food to be as '' close to Nature '' as possible. GMO are quite far from that. No Thank You!
02/08/2010 10:19:24 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
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
teresa says ...
What bothers me the most is that once crops are contaminated, there's no going back. You can't un-do what has been done. With Monsanto, it's all about the mighty dollar and building a monopoly. It sickens me. I wish more Americans were aware.
02/09/2010 1:44:55 PM CST
Dr S.V.Matthews says ...
TOTALLY AGAINST GMO's in ORGANICS! I recently watched Food, Inc. and have decided to eat only organic, cage-free poultry products and open-range (grass-fed)beef as well as open-rang pork. I am not a flaming liberal or fanatic PETA member but am appalled at the treatment of our animals and the unhealthy hormones and antibiotics they are fed that get transmitted to our food suppliers/distributors and eventually to us. Once I decided to eat only organic, I'm frustrated at how difficult it is to fnd and how expensive it is (3-1/2) times non-organic products. I was appalled that Monsanto has a monopoly and can intimidate our farmers who want to grow Non-GMO organics. I thought the anti-trust laws prohibited monopolies. S.V. Matthews
02/10/2010 9:12:08 AM CST
Tess Crain says ...
I CARE! Stop the Monsanto Devils from destroying our food supply and killing us all. Don't fear a nuclear war, fear Monsanto's GMOS and all GMOs in our food supply. No to GMOs!
02/10/2010 9:38:47 AM CST
Jean Matthews says ...
I am very concerned about GMO's. With all of the illness in the United States, I think we should be ever so careful about what is done to our food. I always read the ingredient panels and will not buy if it contains GMO's. We should buy from those companies that state on the product that it contains no GMO's. Whole Foods is a blessing in my neighborhood.
02/10/2010 9:43:16 AM CST
Elizabeth Redmond says ...
You may also want to take a look at the 2010 Supplement Saftey Act- http://capwiz.com/lef/utr/2/?a=14665781&i=86958913&c=
02/10/2010 9:54:24 AM CST