On March 18, 2011 the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, Cornucopia Institute, California Farmers Union, and others filed a lawsuit against Tom Vilsack and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), arguing that the agency’s recent unrestricted approval of genetically engineered (GE) “Roundup Ready” alfalfa was unlawful.
USDA’s decision to allow unlimited, nationwide commercial planting of Monsanto’s GE Roundup Ready alfalfa without any restrictions flies in the face of the interests of conventional and organic farmers, preservation of the environment, and consumer choice.
This decision particularly affects organic dairy farmers. Most of the alfalfa grown in America will eventually become feed for dairy cows. A cow’s diet affects the milk its body produces, which we consume as milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, etc. Under the organic standards, no GE ingredients may be present in a cow’s diet if its milk is to be certified organic.
The problem is that GMO crops like alfalfa, corn and soybeans don’t stay in their own fields; they have the potential to spread. The GM Contamination Register lists 142 reported cases of GM contamination since the seeds’ introduction in 1996. Suffice it to say there are enough cases of GE cross-contamination to make farmers worried about the recent deregulation of alfalfa seeds. Right now, organic farmers hold all the burden of preventing contamination. The biotechnology companies should have to carry their weight in keeping control of their technology. Solutions must be found to allow organic and non-GMO agriculture to exist without GMO pollution.
By giving to the Center for Food Safety’s legal fund, you help to preserve the integrity of organic, protect the consumers’ right to know, stand up for organic and conventional farmers, and protect our environment from the hazards of GE crops.