Now is your chance to demand that USDA protect food from contamination by genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa! USDA just released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on GE alfalfa and comments are due February 16, 2010.
Tell the USDA Not to Approve Monsanto’s GE Alfalfa!
In the EIS, USDA claims that there is no evidence that consumers care about GE contamination of organic alfalfa. But it’s not just alfalfa that is at risk. Since alfalfa is fed to dairy cows and other livestock, the dairy and meat products that you eat could be affected too!
Howard Vlieger, a FARFA Board member and president of Verity Farms, has witnessed first-hand the negative effects of GE crops on livestock. In a recent conversation with Dr. Don Huber, Emeritus Professor at Purdue University, Dr. Huber stated that if GE “Roundup Ready” alfalfa gets approved, the glyphosate herbicide (the active ingredient in Roundup) could stay in alfalfa plants for up to ten years. And it’s possible that traces of glyphosate could end up in the milk supply when dairy cows are fed GE alfalfa that has been sprayed with glyphosate. Do you want to expose yourself and your children and grandchildren to contaminated milk?
Below are some recommended talking points. COMMENTS ARE DUE FEBRUARY 16, 2010.
HOW TO SUBMIT COMMENTS
1) Submit comments online through the government website: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480a6b7a1
Click on “submit comment” (look at the upper right-hand corner of the box)
2) You can also submit comments through the Center for Food Safety’s website, http://ga3.org/campaign/alfalfaEIS
3) For written, mailed comments, send two copies to: Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044.
* As a consumer, you do not want to buy GE-alfalfa-derived meat and dairy products. USDA claims that consumers will not be harmed by the approval of GE alfalfa, but has not conducted studies of the effects of feeding GE alfalfa to livestock, or their meat or dairy.
* It is wrong to leave farmers, whether organic or conventional, vulnerable to contamination of their crops. Alfalfa is open-pollinated by bees. With bees traveling 4 to 6 miles, they can potentially spread the patented, foreign DNA to distant conventional and organic crops. The potential for biological contamination from a neighbor’s field, even miles away, threatens the livelihood of organic farmers, dairies, and other livestock producers. The farmers may also be subject to harassment by Monsanto if Monsanto’s investigators find DNA from GE alfalfa mixed in with the farmer’s crops.
* GE alfalfa would be the first perennial crop to be approved for genetic modification and release. GE-contaminated plants could be scattered along the roadsides and in fields, living and producing more GE-contaminated pollen for years.
* Monsanto’s business practices do NOT protect farmers from contamination. USDA claims that Monsanto’s seed contracts require measures sufficient to prevent GE contamination. But USDA is ignoring the evidence of widespread GE contamination of canola, soy, and corn.
* GE alfalfa would significantly increase pesticide use, harming both human health and the environment. USDA admits (correctly) that introduction of Roundup Ready alfalfa will increase Roundup use. However, USDA’s claims that the increase is not significant and that Roundup will replace other, more toxic herbicides are wrong and unsupported by any evidence.
* USDA should NOT approve genetically engineered crops that benefit one large company at the expense of family farms. USDA concludes that GE alfalfa will cause production to shift to larger farms (that can afford built-in isolation distances) and conventional growers who are not threatened by GE contamination, but that these economic shifts are not significant. This is a continuation of the “get big or get out” policy that has caused myriad problems over the last several decades, and it needs to stop!
You can purchase copies of Howard Vlieger’s presentation on the health effects of GE’s on livestock – contact us at email@example.com.
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