Genetically Engineered Crops May be Linked to a Dangerous New Pathogen

Tell President Obama to stop the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa and sugar beets.

One of the nation’s senior scientists has alerted the federal government to a newly discovered organism that may have the potential to cause infertility and spontaneous abortion in farm animals, raising significant concerns about human health. Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, believes the appearance and prevalence of the unnamed organism may be related to the nation’s over reliance on the weed killer known as Roundup and/or to something about the genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops.

In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the professor called on the federal government to immediately stop deregulation of Roundup Ready crops. Here are some excerpt from the letter that was sent to Secretary Vilsack in January:

“A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn—suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!

[…] For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.”

Read the full letter from Dr. Don Huber to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Depsite this and many other arguments against the release of GMOs, the USDA has approved Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa and sugar beets. Unless President Obama stops it, GE alfalfa and sugar beets will be widely planted this spring and begin contaminating our soils and crops.

 

TAKE ACTION

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

MESSAGE: “The USDA’s decision to approve Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa and sugar beets is wrong. I am calling to urge President Obama to reject approval of GE crops. I care about the integrity of the food I eat. Please take immediate action to stop this approval.”

 

MORE INFORMATION on GE ALFALFA

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 USDA still moved ahead with approving commercial plantings of GE alfalfa. 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.

The agency’s decision 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.

 

MORE INFORMATION on GE SUGAR BEETS

On February 4, the USDA issued a new decision to allow the U.S. sugar beet industry to continue growing Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets. In 2010, A federal district judge found that growing the GE sugar beets is likely to cause irreparable harm to people and the environment, and “may cross-pollinate with non-genetically engineered sugar beets and related Swiss chard and table beets,” and ordered the federal government to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before allowing the GE sugar beets to be grown.

In spite of that court order, the USDA issued a far less comprehensive “Environmental Assessment,” claiming it adequately considers the damage the GE sugar beets are likely to cause. According to USDA, Roundup Ready sugar beets can be partially deregulated without having a significant effect on the environment. This conclusion is at sharp odds with earlier court rulings and the experience of growers of organic and non-GE crops, who have already seen their crops contaminated by other 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 President Obama that you want a real choice in the food you eat. The only way to fully protect farmers, consumers and the environment is to stop planting these crops.