Action Alert: Tell USDA to Reject GE Alfalfa

Although USDA has acknowledged that planting Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa poses a significant risk that regular crops will be contaminated, the agency is still proposing to deregulate GE alfalfa and allow commercial plantings!

The agency’s analysis does NOT prove that GE alfalfa is save for the environment or for animals, nor does it establish how farmers could adequately be protected from contamination and the resulting loss of markets. The agency’s proposal would leave farmers and the public paying the price while enriching Monsanto.

Urge President Obama and Secretary Vilsack to reject GE alfalfa!

 

TAKE ACTION

1) President Barack Obama:
Phone: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Online: www.whitehouse.gov/contact

2) USDA/APHIS; Email: biotechquery@aphis.usda.gov; or call 1-301-851-2300 and record your comments

MESSAGE: “I am ___________ from __________. I am calling to comment on USDA’s proposal to approve the commercial release of GE alfalfa and their failure to adequately address the public health, environmental, and economic consequences of that release. I strongly urge you to reject the planting of GE alfalfa.”

 

MORE INFORMATION

The GE alfalfa at issue has been engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s flagship herbicide, Roundup. Alfalfa is the nation’s 4th largest crop, planted on over 21 million acres. Alfalfa hay is used for livestock feed, and alfalfa meal is used as a soil amendment. Alfalfa sprouts constitute an important sector of the salad market, and the crop plays a major role in honey production nationally.

GE alfalfa is the first perennial crop to be genetically engineered, making it even more likely to be widely dispersed through escapee plants as well as bee pollination. Contamination threatens both organic farmers (since the organic standards prohibit GE crops) and conventional farmers (since most overseas governments and alfalfa importers reject GE-contaminated crops).

While conceding for the first time that GE contamination of non-GE crops is a major problem in the US, the EIS still concluded that the agency should allow at least some commercial plantings, while relying on faulty data and flawed assumptions. The agency continues to overlook the widespread corruption of conventional seed varieties by GE strains (such as occurred with StarLink corn and LibertyLink rice), and the resulting severe economic injury to farmers.

Importantly, the EIS relies heavily on ideal world “best management practices,” yet there is no reason to believe that these measures will actually be effectively implemented to prevent GMO contamination in the real world. In fact, multiple alfalfa contamination episodes have occurred over the past few years under conditions similar to those proposed by the EIS.

The agency’s proposal to deregulate GE alfalfa also places human health at risk from the inevitable increase in the use of both Roundup and even more toxic cocktails of herbicides, whose use has increased due to the proliferation of Roundup-resistant weeds. And there is no mention of the possible health consequences of eating GE crops.

The harm cannot be undone! Once released into the environment, GE crops and pollen cannot be recalled. This presents a serious problem for organic and conventional farmers whose livelihood and reputation depends upon the ability to grow non-GE crops. It also raises important concerns for consumers who want to eat foods grown without using GE technology.

Tell U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack that the science doesn’t support the agency’s proposed measures to prevent GE contamination. The only way to fully protect farmers, consumers and the environment is to reject the proposed approval of GE alfalfa and adopt a moratorium.