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USDA Fully Deregulates Roundup Ready Alfalfa

In an unexpected move, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday that USDA will allow genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa to be planted without restriction.

The announcement bucked expectations that the deparment’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) would likely introduce a partial deregulation of the crop, which is engineered to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Partial deregulation would have imposed geographic restrictions on planting in an effort to prevent GE contamination of non-GE and organic alfalfa. Vilsack’s recent statements about “coexistence and cooperation” between GE and non-GE agriculture led many to believe partial deregulation of the crop was in the pipeline.

“I think there’s a general sigh of relief in U.S. agriculture that this is the right decision,” Mark McCaslin, president of Forage Genetics International, a co-developer of Roundup Ready alfalfa told one reporter. “I am sure there were a lot of people who were nervous.”

Organic and sustainable farming advocates were disappointed by the decision. “This creates a perplexing situation when the market calls for a supply of crops free of genetic engineering. The organic standards prohibit the use of genetic engineering, and consumers will not tolerate the accidental presence of genetic engineered materials in organic products yet GE crops continue to proliferate unchecked,” said Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association in a statement.

Bill Tomson and Scott Kilman of the Wall Street Journal reported that Vilsack’s rejection of a compromise proposal–partial deregulation, which was vehemently opposed by biotech companies and only tepidly accepted by non-GE interests–was the result of an Obama administration review of “burdensome” regulations.

Sources familiar with the negotiations at USDA, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Food Safety News they believe the White House asked Vilsack to drop proposed regulations so the administration would appear more friendly to big business.

The White House did not respond for comment.

GE alfalfa has been at the center of litigation–and national controversy–since 2005 when the Center for Food Safety, along with organic and conventional farmers, sued the USDA alleging APHIS had not adequately reviewed GE alfalfa and that cross-pollination was causing the farmers harm. The case went all the way to Supreme Court last April, the first ever GE crop case to reach the high court. In a 7-1 decision, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ban on GE alfalfa, saying it went too far, but agreed that USDA was required by federal law to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

USDA completed an EIS in mid-December and put two options on the table: to allow the engineered alfalfa without restrictions or to allow the crop with certain geographic and isolation restrictions.

“After conducting a thorough and transparent examination of alfalfa through a multi-alternative environmental impact statement (EIS) and several public comment opportunities, APHIS has determined that Roundup Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa,” Vilsack said in a statement. “All of the alfalfa production stakeholders involved in this issue have stressed their willingness to work together to find solutions. We greatly appreciate and value the work they’ve done so far and will continue to provide support to the wide variety of sectors that make American agriculture successful.”

The Center for Food Safety, a plaintiff in the multi-year litigation, said it was “disappointed” by USDA’s decision. “USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment,” said executive director Andrew Kimbrell.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), new Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, issued a statement of support for deregulation, but said flaws in the current regulatory system need to be addressed.

“I applaud the USDA’s decision to deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa, giving growers the green light to begin planting an abundant, affordable and safe crop,” Stabenow said. “While I’m glad this decision was guided by sound science, I’m concerned that USDA’s process creates too much uncertainty for our growers. Alfalfa was one of nearly two dozen genetically modified crops awaiting USDA evaluation and approval–a bottlenecked process that hinders growth and progress.”

Vilsack told reporters Thursday that USDA would support research to help maintain the integrity of non-GE alfalfa and would reestablish advisory committees to review tools and options available to farmers on all sides of the issue.

The department is expected to make additional announcements on GE sugar beets and corn as early as next week.

© Food Safety News
  • kathie

    Ewww, just what I want my kids drinking. Milk from cows who ate genetically altered food, sprayed with pesticides.

  • Doc Mudd

    Vilsack said “After conducting a thorough and transparent examination of alfalfa through a multi-alternative environmental impact statement (EIS) and several public comment opportunities, APHIS has determined that Roundup Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa,”
    Senator Debbie Stabenow said. “…I’m glad this decision was guided by sound science…”
    ‘And I am glad, too, Debbie’ Doc Mudd said.
    Let good science and oommon sense always prevail in the crapstorm of junk science, sophistry and superstition that is the lifeblood of activist organizations like CFS.

  • http://www.honeyguy.com Jerome A. Linser

    The honey bee and native pollinator populations and hence the production of our food supply will take a big hit because of this decision. Honey bee CCD will be extended because of this decision. No body in charge of this decision has recognized the fact that honey bees and native pollinators provide pollination for food plants which have their food production increased by over 30%. That is, without pollinators there will be a third less food available to feed our nation. Also nobody recognizes the fact that systemic herbicides and pesticides translocates in the plants to the nectar, pollen and fiber. Hence meats and milk of cattle eating the these plants will be contaminated along with the honey produced by the honey bees. Also the contaminated pollen used by the honey bees to feed bee larva will kill bee larva and hence CCD. What are these people thinking???

  • Daniela Kunz

    THis is an outrage! An assault to the health of ALL in this. Our voices have been yet again ignored to the full extent and at the detriment of our whole being.
    Criminals at work in the highest ranks – and we are all at the mercy of those.

  • Gary Donofrio

    I wonder if the appointment of Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, to President Obama’s jobs growth task force had anything to do with this decision.

  • Shari

    It saddens me that our government has thrown us to the wolves so to speak. Doc Mudd- I think you are in serious need of some of that common sense you speak of. Our food source was perfect the way it was originally made. It gave our bodies everything they needed before scientist started playing God changed it. Jeronome – Obviously these people aren’t thinking about anything except lining their pockets.

  • Chanchito

    This is great progress for rural America and world consumers alike!!! We can now apply fewer herbicides to our alfalfa making everything from crop production to milk production much cleaner and safer. Check out how the technology works before you slam it or have somebody who doesn’t understand it tell you it’s not safe.
    This is a revolution for agriculture and consumers alike and will permit alfalfa hay growers to compete with corn growers like never before. I am so pleased to see a ruling in favor of rural America and growers who because of climate and elevation that can’t raise corn compete, because we rarely do see such actions taken!

  • Jane Akre

    This technology is being tested – in the field and on us! Tinkering with the checks and balances of nature, playing god to “improve” seeds for the benefit of GE giant Monsanto and for what?! So we can spray more Roundup on the fields? This is an untested technology that threatens our lives and the lives of our children AND is irreversible! Think people.

  • http://blog.factbasedweightloss.com/2011/01/28/outrage-usda-alfalfa/ Ashley B.

    Jane Akre, I could not agree more. Very well said. This is a sick thing and I am absolutely disgusted that our “government” is allowing this. What a joke.

  • Michael Bulger

    Chanchito seems to believe that this will significantly reduce herbicide use. On the other side of the fence, CFS reports that the USDA FEIS shows that only 7% of alfalfa acres are treated with herbicides. (CFS believes the number is actually lower.)
    CFS is saying that as people purchase this seed, they will also spray more Round-Up on more acres than presently are treated. Regardless, what kind of reduction might Chanchito be projecting? Will acres benefit, or do a large part of that 7% only receive one application as it is? Is there any truth to what CFS is reporting?
    Those are interesting questions, no doubt.

  • pm m

    If I intended to vote for a President who specializes in short-term thinking I would’ve have written in President Bush. I hope the first lady is as angry as I am. I’ll need to become vegan now and research cross pollination and cross-contamination more thoroughly. Tomorrow will need to be my last burger in this country, my last butter, my last cream, because while I’ve been purchasing grass fed organic sources, GM alfalfa will soon taint all organic alfalfa planted even several hundred miles away.
    We look ridiculous once more to Europe.
    Final thought Sustainability and organics are businesses with so much more potential and bounty that the industries we seem to cave to. Detroit could be back in business making electric cars in a few short months. High Speed rail and biodiversity could put hundreds of thousands back to work.
    It’s so much easier than we’re making it.
    All for the illusion of speed and convenience. That I’ve participated as fully in that illusion as I did for 30 or so years makes me ill. We should be embarrassed.

  • http://gardenactivist.com Bill

    Chanchito … what are you drinking? Less herbicides? Absolutely not. More Roundup … for starters. More cancer? Yes … 50% more. Before you drink any more of the kool-aid from Monsanto, you might want to taste the clear water of truth. Anywhere you can grow alfalfa tomorrow, you could have grown it yesterday, organically, with ZERO pesticide and herbicide expense and you could have gotten more per ton for it. You’ve been had.
    All Stabenow said is that she is ready for the tap to open on Monsanto’s checkbook. I am ashamed that we share the same state.

  • Doc Mudd

    “APHIS has determined that Roundup Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa,”
    Good science and common sense have prevailed (this time, thankfully).
    Uninformed personal opinions and hateful cult-think should not halt human progress. In fact, it is discouraging to find so many apparently educated and otherwise intelligent individuals whining and blathering like frightened 2-year-olds, throwing a tantrum because they are afraid of the dark.
    If we can learn anything from this humiliating crapstorm of popularized anti-technology stupidity, sadly it is that science education has been a grave failure for too many of our generation. What were some of you people doing in science class, anyway? Gossiping and passing notes, sleeping one off, writing poetry?
    Instead of getting your collective underwear all twisted up over alfalfa (a non-issue, if ever there was one) it seems we should be tackling scientific illiteracy in America. That’s more likely what will cripple our future, that channeled by activists’ insane determination to mindlessly resurrect obsolete, inefficient agricultural technologies.
    The USDA’s decision is sensible and practical. The loudest objections are the most foolish, uninformed and disgusting.

  • http://hglj Heather

    I was always taught that anything worth having would take a little work, nothing comes easy…or free. Doc Mudd commented on “inefficient agricultural technologies” but does he realize that global food production has become a giant monster that will eventually eliminate the human race, maybe not in our time, but eventually.
    God is the only person that doesn’t make mistakes and the seeds He made were just fine and didn’t need any help from Monsanto. Monsanto only is looking at their bottom line, that is why they own most of the seeds that they genetically modify to be pesticide resistant to their brands of pesticides. So they can sell you the seed and then sell you the pesticides to go along with it, Monsanto sees it as a win-win situation.
    Unfortunately we all lose because if we continue on the path we are on which is causing soil degradation there will be no viable soil left to plant seeds in.
    We all need to wake up and not allow Monsanto to completely take over our food supply.
    Not to mention what the GMO’s and pesticides are doing to our bee population. For those of you who do not have any knowledge of farming (maybe Doc Mudd) if we kill off the bee population there will be no crops; GMO, Organic, or otherwise; because we need bees to pollinate the flowers that grow on the plants in order to get the food to grow.
    I hope this decision is challenged in court and reversed because it really is detrminental for all involved.

  • orz

    I had my last burger yesterday, or, I didn’t, since I gave it back, because it had some mold on it.
    I keep bees and it becomes increasingly difficult to find spots where they can gather unspoilt pollen and nectar. It saddens me to see them grow weaker and weaker every year. But no worries. The military and Monsanto will come up with a drone of their own making, a highly specialized, cost-intensive, electronic microwave bitch of sorts that pollinates the crops ten times faster and more efficiently. And no queens, because we are republicans. Damn all that.

  • Dobosh

    Just once I’d like to see Doc Mudd post a link, make an argument or cite some “science” to prove that “good science and common sense have prevailed” (his tagline).
    I’m not too up on the science but I surely am not convinced that modifying organisms so that they can tolerate the application of toxins is the “common sense” approach.
    Agriculture is basically an abomination to Nature but monoculture (which creates demand for GMOs) is surely an abomination to anyone concerned with ecology and human flourishing. I don’t believe “the powers that be” give a hoot about either. The world’s already overpopulated.

  • Doc Mudd

    OK, “just once” Dobosh, just for you, sister.
    Some “science”:
    http://www.agbioworld.org/biotech-info/articles/biotech-art/peer-reviewed-pubs.html
    Some “common sense”:
    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4112
    Dobosh: “I’m not too up on the science but…”
    Yeah, so we’ve noticed.
    But don’t let that stop any of you bullshit artists lecturing the rest of us on science, technology and human progress all the same there, professor.
    Dobosh: “Agriculture is basically an abomination to Nature…”
    But we’d all be chronically hungry without it, wouldn’t we?
    Modern day Luddite ignorance and hubris are basically an abomination to human equality and cultural advancement.
    This is America, so you are welcome to your opinion, no matter how amateur, misguided or devious. Just don’t take yourselves so damned seriously – the rest of us certainly don’t.

  • Doc Mudd

    While we’re on the subject of science, and all, could Jerome, Heather or orz please cough up some solid scientific evidence that GM technology is causing honeybee colony collapse disorder (CCD)?
    Any science? Any at all? I mean, you all sound so certain the way you preach so you must have done the research, right? Otherwise how do you know CCD isn’t caused by miasma or lurking sasquatch/boogiemen or just really, really bad fung shui in accessorizing the beehives?
    Personally, I think it might be chi causing the bees to swoon. Because I had an acquaintance once who had a friend whose niece saw on the internet about a poor girl in Tibet or somewhere who collapsed because her chi got all screwed up from drinking some tap water. She lost all interest in pollinating until she bought some reiki and ate about a ton of garlic. Maybe you’re just not putting enough garlic in the beehives? I don’t know, you are the experts. I’m just guessing but I’m absolutely convinced. If you don’t hurry up and put more garlic in the beehives the sky is gonna fall and you don’t want that, now, do you? Well, do you?
    Fearmongers are the greatest!

  • Dobosh

    Thanks for the links, Doc, that’s just what I was looking for (but couldn’t find). Now if only I was affiliated with an institution that had subscriptions to all these journals. Is there any easy way to find out where the funding for these studies comes from? I presume that’s something that is outlined within the final report of each study. Is that right?
    Not trying to fear-monger; I, like many others, am legitimately (you may beg to differ) concerned with the potential consequences of polluting the world’s gene pool. Bio-diversity isn’t just a fancy talking point. Genetic diversity is important to the survival of species.
    There are, obviously, multiple issues at play here beyond the physiological results of feeding glyphosphate-tolerant crops to livestock, not all of them related to experimental science..such as the ability to patent DNA and the rights of consumers to know what they are putting in their bodies (among other things). Those may be “off-topic” for this article but are still a part of the debate surrounding genetically modification of foodstock.
    Discourse is good and I feel we are probably more closely aligned regarding the public’s general lack of understanding of science and common sense than either of us would care to admit. Peace, sister.

  • Doc Mudd

    No substitute for reading the science, Dobosh.
    I suggest using Google ‘Scholar’ for searching the internet. That seems to filter out most of the pranked-up foolishness and takes you directly to the research reports.
    Good peer-reviewed research always reports the source of funding. More important, the study design and researchers’ conclusion will be described in detail so you can evaluate the appropriateness of the study and intelligently compare to what’s being reported about it in the internet echo chambers.
    Thanks for not fearmongering, then. Looking forward to intelligent and informed discussion in the future. Peace out.

  • Bruce

    I’m shocked and saddened with the USDA’s decision on RR Alfalfa. I’m even more shocked to hear rumors that the Obama Administration put pressure on Vilsack on behalf of Big Ag to allow them access to 20 million acres of farmland.
    When a Government ignores the will of the people in favor of catering to special interests, the need for Government no longer exists.

  • John Farley

    science isn’t the issue. while GE alfalfa might appear to be as safe as conventional alfalfa, the question still remains, is it necessary? the GE alfalfa is modified to withstand a proprietary chemical herbicide that itself isn’t necessary. monsanto’s alfalfa is not modified for greater yields or higher nutritional content (not that nutrition is a big issue with alfalfa), the arguments made for genetic engineering. it is modified to be resistant to monsanto’s, and only monsanto’s, herbicide. farmers will purchase alfalfa seeds from monsanto, and will then need to purchase monsanto’s round-up in order for the GE seeds to be worth their price. other herbicides will kill the alfalfa. it’s merely a win-win for monsanto.
    then there are the patent laws that non-gmo farmers will be violating when monsanto’s alfalfa cross-pollinates with non-gmo alfalfa. non-gmo farmers will incur the cost of testing for contamination, and will face huge losses if contamination is detected.
    it might be safe, but is it an agricultural necessity? and if it isn’t a necessity, is it worth the trouble? it appears it is only worth the trouble to one entity, and it ain’t the farmers or consumers.

  • rich

    Doc Mudd,
    I am not trying to fear monger either, but am deeply concerned. I live in a city recently rated 7th in the United States for worst drinking water. One of the chemicals found, at illegal limits, is atrazine. Atrazine is a herbicide known to cause birth defects. I do not see glysophate as being a lesser threat. It will end up in our drinking water and contaminate fish and wildlife. Also, Monsanto is known to unethically put farmers out of business if the wind blows their patented seeds on one’s land.
    Am I really wrong to be concerned about this? Is it nonsense to want to know what is in my food? Besides, labeling food helps researchers build a data base to find out if the products are harmful to human health. Is it ethical to you for a coorperation to own a patent on life?
    I like doing things the natural way. I believe in science. I am more along the science of perma culture rather than tampering with genes to make a crop resistant to chemicals known to be dangerous. Can you really claim these herbicides are not toxic? Would you ingest straight glysophate for a period of time? Or put an eydrop of it in the glass of water you drink every day?
    I am trying to just start a healthy debate. You seem really confident that deregulation of GE alfalfa is a good thing. I do not share this vision for our future. I would like to revert back to some of the practices our great grand parents stuck by.
    Let me know your thoughts. I am opened minded and like to learn from debating the oppossition of my view.

  • Doc Mudd

    Well, rich, I’d guess your “great grand parents” lived around the turn of the last century, about 1900, give or take a couple decades.
    Of course you realize life expectancy in the U.S in 1900 was about 50 years? Now its over 70. Talk about rolling back the clock, in 1800 life expectancy in the U.S. was less than 40 years. I’d say there’s been some progress made and I’d guess it is still being made.
    How did great-grandad’s generation contribute to this progress? Well, they were the generation that put the first meaningful food and drug legislation in place. They adopted pasteurization, refrigeration, sanitation, higher education.
    They also were the generation that refuted and rejected astrology, farming by lunar cycles, quack remedies. They successfully applied the scientific method in medicine and agriculture and set the stage for our generation’s remarkable standard of living.
    They were the first to take serious note of environmental degradation and they began educating their kids and grandkids to grow more food while conserving more soil – a trend that continues with professional farmers today (though you’d never know from the anti-agriculture zealots’ relentless smear campaign).
    Those are some of the “practices our great grand parents stuck by”, rich. It’s the simple facts. Look it up, dude.
    Now over-fed, under-educated, know-it-all snots among our generation insist we toss all that common sense and valid science away on some vague, silly myth of the ‘good natural old days’, some lacy utopian flat-earth fantasy that never existed…and probably never will. In the meantime, there are 6 or 7 billion hungry mouths to feed each and every day; some hungrier than others, so there are chores to be done. Our great-grandparents also understood the necessity of cutting the gab and tackling routine chores, however mundane and imperfect, rich.
    Fearmongering around alfalfa, of all things, is a wonderful display of the magnitude of scientific illiteracy and ignorant sophistry that prevail today. If the underlying truth of that simple observation escapes you, then you have proven my point and there is no chance of intelligent discourse, no common ground and probably no ‘co-existence’ either. The USDA was prescient enough to recognize that and wisely avoided being earnestly ‘talked to death’ over a non-issue by cranks who haven’t the first practical idea what they insist upon arguing about.

  • rich

    First of all Doc, I am not fearmongering. I am debating. You have a chance to sway me here if I could learn something I did not already know. So far, I have learned of your devotion to sciene. You have barely addressed the true debate other than to mention GE alfalfa is safe to eat. Not to mention, you did not address a single question I asked you.
    I agree with most of what you said above. I do not want to do away with science, higher education, refirgeration, etc, etc. We agree our great grand parents had a lot of things right. I guess I don’t have to look anything up. Dude.
    A big part of our “remarkabble standard of living” is owed to fossil fuels. They are a monumental part of big agriculture. They are also finite. GE crops require more oil dependence. An imminent shortage could bring about a massive hunger crisis. Not to mention the affects they have on our planet. GE crop production contributes to global warming. GE crops and organic crops will suffer low productivity and risk of crop failure in extreme weather conditions.
    Just answer one question. Why should’nt GE foods at least be labled? What is there to hide? Do I not have the right, as a consumer to know what I am eating?

  • Doc Mudd

    “Why should’nt GE foods at least be labled? What is there to hide? Do I not have the right, as a consumer to know what I am eating?”
    An excellent example of how great-grandad’s common sense is skipping a generation. Why insist upon doing things (like producing food and sticking labels on it) in the least efficient fashion? That may seem nostalgic, but that’s just another popular misconception; great-grandad didn’t suffer a dissipative fool. Why not go with a sensible approach to packaging by labeling what’s unique?
    Modern technology, including hybridization and GE can be safely assumed to have contributed to the availability, affordability and safety of practically every food product (I forgot to mention great-grandad really started the ball rolling on genetic hybridization, too).
    If you have a few products (e.g. kosher, certified organic) that scrupulously avoid some technology or other and if that’s an important marketing feature, then label those few special foods accordingly for the benefit of consumers who care to indulge themselves. It will be far, far easier and more affordable to label the few boutique products than to label everything with statements of the obvious.
    Unless you’re counting on fearmongering by sticking meaningless but scary-looking warnings on virtually everything, well then you’re just wasting more of the precious natural resources you make such a public show of wringing your hands over. Most of us sane, practical folks don’t scare all that easily, anyway.
    You ask; “what is there to hide?”. I respond; there’s nothing to hide, there’s nothing new under the sun for the past century, or so.
    I ask; what special features of your trendy nostalgic product should interest me as a consumer? Label those…so as consumers we might exercise our “right” to eat in accordance with our personal affectations.

  • rich

    Doc,
    Labeling just what is unique?? Did I read that right? Have you been to a grocery store lately. EVERYTHING IS LABLED. The alcohol has a government lavel warning and no list of ingredients. GE products are ommitted from these labels, but everything is labeled.
    What is unique Doc?? Should we label products with peanuts in them for persons whom may be allergic? Better question, is what falls under the category of “not being unique,” besides GE products?
    Doc Mudd; “Lets not be pinned down with traffic lights unless they are at a unique intersection. Let’s say, Haight and Ashbury. Good place to stop.”
    At least you stayed on point when I ask you a direct question, instead of giving me a deposition for the scientific world. Although, I am sure I can count on a childish insult in your next response.
    These seeds cross pollunate into organic farms. One gereration of Round up Ready sugar beet may turn into Round up ready salad green the next generation on an organic farm. The organic farm’s consumers DO NOT WANT GE PRODUCTS. With no regulation, every organic farmer’s inventory is comprimised.
    There are seed production measures that can be taken to keep GMO pollen from threatening neighboring crops. Some are so obvious that it seems negligent to have not employed them, like using male-sterile maternal lines to carry the RR-genes (so no RR-pollen is created) in the hybrid seed production process.
    Answer 1 more question Doc. Why not design these crops to never cross pollinate?

  • Doc Mudd

    “Answer 1 more question Doc. Why not design these crops to never cross pollinate?”
    Makes good sense for hardy crops that tend to seed themselves (alfalfa isn’t one of those in the U.S., of course).
    Like ‘belt & suspenders’, professional farmers who have managed cross-pollination skillfully and successfully since before great-grandad’s time might well supplement their expertise with sterile varieties in some instances.
    Cross-pollination is featured in fearmongers’ fanciful gloom-and-doom prophesies as a simple, sure process (hey, they’ve watched the movies Frankenstein and Food Inc. – so now they know everything and it can’t be all that complicated, right? I mean, just one whiff of a pollen grain anywhere and wham, bam, thank-you-ma’am, it’s a done deal, right?).
    As usual, the self-anointed ‘experts’ don’t know bugger-all when it comes to breeding plants and propagating them in the real world of agriculture. If it was easy as falling off a log we would all be master plant breeders and there would never have been any big, evil seed companies for leather-headed tossers to blather and bitch about.
    GM alfalfa is a non-issue but for CFS hamming it up at political theatre in the courts. Professional fearmongers in action. All in a day’s work, I suppose.
    If there are no more questions, rich, let’s give this tedious sci-fi drama a rest, shall we?

  • rich

    Doc Mudd,
    By raising fear and ignorance as rebuttals to valid concerns, you shift the debate away from the merits and substance of argument, as you have done repeatedly. At a minimum, the risks and benefits of genetically engineered food are inconclusive, and the technology itself is so new that the full implications of its widespread use cannot possibly be predicted. In addition, the current regulatory structure is inadequate and unable to protect individuals from potential risks. These facts, coupled with a major imbalance in power and financial resources between industry and consumers, lead me to the conclusion that there is no room for deregulating Genetically Engineered crops.
    I end on that final note, and one last question.
    Do you work for Monsanto?

  • Doc Mudd

    “Do you work for Monsanto?”
    No. Never have. What would it matter if I did? How would that invalidate common sense, good science or the spirit of human progress? That would not re-write history to conform with your soppy fictional nostalgic assumptions nor would it restore a valid perception of the earth as flat (oohhh, don’t sail too far or you will sail right over the edge!!).
    BTW, nice cut & paste job, rich: “By raising fear and ignorance…” blah, blah, blah.
    Unless you are Sophia Kolehmainen, you have boldly plagiarized her, dude. That’s OK, we understand that study, reasoning and developing one’s own informed opinion is hard work. Simply surfing internet echo chambers, drinking in the Kool-Aid and being led around by the hair is so much less mentally taxing.
    Fearmongers are the greatest! Tedious as hell, but still the greatest.

  • Terry

    Certainly my question too- Do you sir, work for Monsanto? Does money too, cloud your judgement?
    Nothing muddies the water of clear thinking like money. And it is not the worst thing in the world, no- that would be water that might never again be clear, viable or seeds that no longer produce life, rendered sterile by an invisible invasion that once it gets into our food supply, can not be stopped. Those are my rightful fears and a study provided to our government by Monsanto is not a study that regulation or deregulation should be based upon. There are no buffers that can hold back the tiniest particles, carried by bees and birds…and you would know this, every one might know this if for just one instance- money might be taken out of the equation and hindsight carried into a future of wondering how we could not see this happening, how we could not have acted then, in time- for the benefit of all life?
    No cave hoarding seed collection will matter when the earth no longer receives and reciprocates life.
    That is not fear mongering, those are words from my heart and my mind. Those are MY deepest concerns. I have looked a bee in the eye and a banker. I can tell you absolutely which one produces the worst sting- which will provide me and mine with life, and which one will do so only for so long until…
    My final question then:
    At a farmer’s market-
    Which farm stand would you trust?
    The farmer who has considered the health of his field and his world and acted accordingly with good, viable, sustainable practices?
    Or the producer who only can tell you that as far as the USDA and Monsanto are concerned- these veggies are healthy and will not harm, ever- your family and their future health?

  • Doc Mudd

    “At a farmer’s market-
    Which farm stand would you trust?”
    Another easy question to answer. I’ve recently learned to ‘know my farmer’ and now know not to trust any hobby farmer. Here’s just one good reason why:
    http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/know-your-farmer-know-your-food—except-when-it-is-not-the-food-they-grew/
    At the farmers’ market caveat emptor is the rule of law. The vendors will probably all have exempted out under Tester from any food safety regulations so; no inspections, no assurance of quality, safety or authenticity.
    Why would I feed my family overpriced flea market food of dubious origin and safety when I wouldn’t think of buying my kids a trendy used car to drive that can’t pass inspection and has no warranty? I don’t buy expensive knock-off electronic devices at the flea market, same sensible policy for food purchases.
    And, with that, no more questions answered by me on this thread. We’ve drifted far off-topic from alfalfa. And there seems to be no end of monotonous little ‘issues’ burdening some folks. The rest of us have a life. See ya in the movies.

  • rich

    Here is an article from a search on googlescholar Doc.
    http://www.zcommunications.org/monsanto-a-checkered-history-by-brian-tokar.pdf
    Here is another one. I thought of one of your quotes when I read this one. “Our great-grandparents also understood the necessity of cutting the gab and tackling routine chores, however mundane and imperfect, rich.”
    http://www.biotech-monitor.nl/3508.htm

  • rich

    I am done with this thread as well. I thought it would be fun to debate this subject. I thought I could take something away from it. It only left me feeling a bit empty that two sides could be this divided, with only time to tell which is the fool. Until then, the earth and it’s inhabitants remain in a virtual lab experiment.
    I can think of thousands of possible adverse outcomes by deregulating genetically engineered seeds. I feel they are completely legitimate concerns. Even after this discussion, I still can’t think of one good possible positive effect to come of their deregulation. Unless you are the CEO of Monsanto.
    I checked out the last link Doc Mudd posted. It did not prove anything about farmer’s markets or organically grown food. You can find multiple illegitimate businesses in any sector of the free market society. People often even experience death eating food that is regulated and inspected. It only proved to me that he is on multiple threads conducting what is arguably a “smear camp again” he speaks so ardently against.
    Here is a quote from Doc Mudd on the second thread of the link he posted.
    “Should’a kept things in perspective, especially the whole “blind trust = purity, safety, integrity, mom & apple pie” thing. We knew better, dammit, we knew better than to trust blindly and let ourselves be conned like this, but…but, it’s sooooo trendy and smart!!”
    His hipocracy is quite transparent. He is urging us to blindly trust Monsanto. Where it has been proven that there is no purity, safety or integrity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002176513321#!/profile.php?id=100000000776500 Paola R.

    This is an outrage. So much corruption is occurring in every single aspect of our society. Only a small percentage of educated people are aware and struggling to raise awareness and try and make a change; while the vast majority, somnambulant corpses, basks in ignorance. There has to be a way to fight back, really. Court cases with farmers who have tried to fight have been defeated with enormous legal fees and debt created by the corrupted legal system. This world is becoming more and more toxic, and we are just helpless.
    - So much wrong in the world, you can see it ending right.