Action Alert: Say No to GMO Apples and Agent Orange Soy

The USDA is flooding the pipeline with proposals to approve a dozen different new genetically engineered crops. Some of these crops are in the final stage of the approval process, while others are in the initial stage of a new “fast-track” system.

We know that everyone is busy, and it is not realistic to tackle all twelve of these crops. Below is an alert focused on what we think are the two worst dangers – the Agent Orange Soy and the GMO Apple.

Please take a moment to submit comments on both of these!

If you have a chance to do more, information on the other crops is at the end. The onslaught of GMO crops can be overwhelming, but more and more people – from organic consumers to conventional farmers – are speaking up against them. Please join us in this effort! Submit comments to USDA by September 11, 2012, and tell the agency to say no to these GMOs!

 

Stop Agent Orange Soy

Dow Chemical is seeking USDA approval for a genetically engineered version of soy that is resistant to 2,4-D, a major component of the highly toxic Agent Orange. This comes on the heels of Dow’s application for approval of 2,4-D corn, which we alerted you to in the spring.

Exposure to 2,4-D has been linked to major health problems that include cancer, lowered sperm counts, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease. A growing body of evidence from laboratory studies show that 2,4-D causes endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity and immunosuppression.

2,4-D is already being used in U.S. agriculture, but right now, it’s hardly used on soy at all. Just 3 percent of total U.S. soybean acres were treated with 2,4-D in 2006. This percentage will skyrocket once Agent Orange Soy hits the market, and the amount used per acre may triple, according to the USDA. 2,4-D can volatilize and travel as far as 50 miles from its application site, harming farms, orchards, and backyard gardens across an entire region.

Please join us in telling USDA to do its job and reject 2,4-D Resistant GM soy!

 

TAKE ACTION

The deadline for submitting comments to USDA is Tuesday, September 11, 2012. Below are detailed instructions on how to submit comments through USDA’s online system, making it as easy as possible.

First, write your comments in a Word document or other file, and save the file on your computer. The government’s online comments system sometimes has glitches – this will save you from writing your comments twice. Sample comments are provided below.

Go to www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=APHIS-2012-0019-0001 – fill in the fields under “1. Enter Information.” Required fields are marked with a *

If your comments are short, you can copy and paste them into the field marked “2. Type Comment.” Otherwise, skip that field and go to Section 3, select “choose file,” and upload your comments. Last, click “Submit” under “4. Submit Comment.”

 

Sample Comment on Agent Orange Soy

I am a _______ (farmer, consumer, concerned parent ….. write a sentence or two to personalize your comments). I am writing to urge you to not to approve Dow’s genetically engineered soy designed to survive the toxic herbicide 2,4-D.

Simply put, 2,4-D resistant seeds are a bad idea. Allowing these seeds on the market will dramatically increase use of an antiquated, dangerous herbicide that is associated with cancer, reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption.

Commercial approval of Dow’s soy will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use, yet USDA has failed to conduct a meaningful review of the resulting harm to the crops of nearby farmers, to native ecosystems, or from the evolution of weeds resistant to 2,4-D. 2,4-D is well known to drift, both directly and through volatilization. This will devastate adjacent ecosystems and poses a very real threat to rural economies and farmers growing non-2,4-D-resistant crops. Conventional farmers will lose crops while organic farmers will lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.

Approval of this patented GM crop will enrich Dow Chemical at the expense of farmers, consumers, and our environment. I urge USDA to deny approval of 2,4-D resistant GM soy, as well as the earlier application for 2,4-D resistant corn.

Sincerely,
Name

 

Stop GMO Apples

A Canadian company is asking the USDA to approve a genetically engineered apple that will not turn brown when exposed to oxygen.

We know that sliced apples naturally turn brown, but they don’t lose any flavor or nutritional value. Not even the apple industry wants this genetically engineered product. So why is this Canadian company spending millions of dollars on developing the GMO apple? It’s all about the $120 million in profits they are projected to receive in the first ten years of bringing the GMO apple to market.

Their corporate profits are not worth the risk of bringing an unlabeled, untested, unnecessary and potentially unsafe product out on the market.

 

TAKE ACTION

First, write your comments in a Word document or other file, and save the file on your computer. The government’s online comments system sometimes has glitches – this will save you from writing your comments twice. Sample comments are provided below.

Go to www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=APHIS-2012-0025-0001. Fill in the fields under “1. Enter Information.” Required fields are marked with a *

If your comments are short, you can copy and paste them into the field marked “2. Type Comment.” Otherwise, skip that field and go to Section 3 and upload the file with your comments. Last, click “Submit” under “4. Submit Comment.”

 

Sample Comment on GMO Apples

I am a _______ (farmer, consumer, concerned parent ….. write a sentence or two to personalize your comments). I am writing to urge you not to approve Okanagan Specialty Fruit’s petition for deregulation of its nonbrowning “Arctic” apple.

The manipulation of such a commonly grown fruit could cause contamination of nearby organic or conventional apple orchards, and unlabeled GMO apples could find their way into non-GMO fruit slices and juice at the processing level.

Also, the Arctic apple’s nonbrowning appearance could mask the age of apples and mislead consumers into thinking that GMO apples are fresher than they really are.

The U.S. Apple Association and grower groups already have voiced their disapproval of these GMO apples due to the negative impact they could have on the non-GMO apple industry. And without a label, consumers may unknowingly purchase and consume Arctic apples.

This product is unnecessary and poses several risks to the apple industry and consumers in exchange for a fix to a minor aesthetic flaw. In its environmental review, USDA should choose the no action alternative and not approve this GMO apple variety.

Sincerely,
Name

 

The Rest of the Crops

The USDA has also posted 10 other GMO crops for public comment, all with deadlines of September 11. The bad news is that 8 of these crops (plus the GMO apple) are under a new fast-tracked process that USDA has developed to move GMO crops forward more quickly. The good news is that there will be two comment periods for these crops – this initial one, and a second, 30-day comment period later. So there will be future opportunities to comment.

If you can take a few extra minutes to file comments on these as well now, that can only help.

The Organic Consumers Association has an article with links to all 12 of the GMO crops that have been proposed for USDA approval: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_26072.cfm

To submit a comment on any of these crops, click on the link next to it for APHIS, and then click the “Comment now” button on the right. Even a very brief (2-3 sentence) comment saying that you are opposed to the approval of new GMO crops will count in the administrative record.