Wednesday, August 01, 2012

US Government Wants 2012 Farm Bill To Allow All Genetically Engineered Crops To Be Approved

By Theodora Filis

The House Agriculture Committee has passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill that includes dangerous provisions for genetically engineered crops (GE). 

According to Food & Water Watch, several "riders" were included in the House Farm Bill at the last minute that would allow for the rubber-stamp approval of genetically engineered crops if the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) doesn't finish its approval of the crops within a year. “These weaken the requirements of the USDA's environmental analysis, allowing the agency to do even less of an assessment of the potential harm posed by the crop, and they endanger the entire organic market, by sanctioning the contamination of non-genetically engineered crops”.

One of the biggest concerns is a provision in the 2013 Agriculture Appropriation bill—Section 733 (also known as the Monsanto Rider) which would allow the planting of GM crops even if they were illegally approved.

In spite of lawsuits filed against the USDA, by food and environmental groups, Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets received final USDA approval. Issues surrounding the crop since 2005 centered around failure to conduct proper safety tests. The crop was banned from the market, but certain farmers were given approval to grow the GMO beets in hopes of averting an alleged sugar shortage – allowing the planting of the still illegal crop.

GMOs The US Government Doesn't Want You To Know About

According to Reuters, new provisions could push controversial crops to market without thorough safety testing. “A controversial new type of corn developed by Dow Agrosciences, altered to allow more liberal spraying of the widely used 2,4-D broad leaf herbicide, could sidestep regulatory hurdles currently in place and gain swift approval under the new law.”

Overwhelming consensus among the Food & Drug FDA’s own scientists was that GMO foods were quite different and could lead to unpredictable and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They suggested long-term studies, but were ignored.

In Europe, any product containing over 0.9% GMO must be labeled, and EU consumers generally won’t eat foods that test above this level. In contrast, most US and Canadian consumers don’t even know what GMOs are, and have no idea they are contained in the majority of processed foods.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association of America estimates that GMOs are in 75-80% of processed food, mainly due to corn and soy that get used in so many ingredients.

Many consumers in the US believe the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves GMO foods through in-depth, long-term studies. In reality, the agency has absolutely no safety testing requirements. Unlike the Europeans, US citizens are uninformed and misinformed on when it comes to GMOs.

The US media has been too quiet about the enormous health risks of GMOs. Americans know so little about this subject that only about 1 in 4 are aware that they have ever eaten foods containing GMOs in their lives.

Companies, like Kellogs, careful to avoid GMO ingredients for the concerned European markets, are happy to feed GMOs to unknowing consumers in the US.