Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update: Obama Goes Rogue on GMOs

In the past 3 weeks, the Obama administration has chosen to approve three biotech crops: Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) alfalfa, Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets and a new industrial biotech corn for ethanol production. Obama's recent approval of them will allow them to be planted as early as this spring, despite widespread acknowledgement that these crops are certain to contaminate both conventional and organic farmers non-GMO crops. Only last Friday, the USDA's approval of the new industrial biotech corn for ethanol production occurred despite massive outcry from major food companies who know that it will contaminate and possibly ruin the food they sell to you everyday.
Here's a brief recap of the Obama administration's appalling cave to Monsanto and the biotech industry in just the last 3 weeks.
1. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa - Jan. 27th, 2011 - Over the objections of hundreds of thousands of American citizens, the White House approved this unnecessary crop - despite the fact that 93% of alfalfa hay grown in the U.S. does not use herbicides and that genetic contamination with conventional, non-GMO and organic alfalfa threatens the livelihoods of tens of thousands of family farmers and the food choices of more than 50 million organic consumers.2

2. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO sugar beets - Feb. 4, 2011 - Defying a court order to complete a proper Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) the USDA announced that it is granting a “partial” approval of Monsanto’s GMO sugar beets, giving farmers and seed dealers the clear signal that final approval is right around the corner. By the time the EIS is expected to be complete, sometime in May, farmers will have already started planting their crop for the next year since the USDA says it gave the green light to avert a “sugar shortage” in the U.S. Sugar beets comprise some 54% of U.S. sugar found in everything from soda, other beverages, candy bars3

3. Syngenta’s Enogen Alpha-Amylase Corn for Ethanol - Feb 11, 2011 -  This new GMO amylase corn product contains an enzyme that allegedly allows an increase in ethanol production with a reduction of natural gas and water usage, thus saving ethanol plants money. While caving to the biotech and ethanol industries, the Obama administration basically ignored the concerns of  leading food manufacturers who fear that if this new industrial corn cross-pollinates with or is accidentally mixed with corn used to make food products, it could lead to crumbly corn chips, soggy cereal and a host of other food processing disasters.4

Despite being comprised of more than 43 powerful companies such as General MillsConAgra Mills, ADM Milling and Quaker Oats, the Obama administration completely dismissed the concerns of the North American Miller’s Association, comprised of some of the largest food manufacturers in U.S. in order to favor the biotech and ethanol corporate agenda, both industries with checkered pasts and products of dubious benefit.

Please take a moment to tell President Obama that you’re outraged over his decision to approve a crop technology that has not lived up to its marketing promises, increasingly harms farmer profitability and has potential negative human health and environmental consequences.

These decisions are a devastating blow to our democracy and the basic rights of farmers to choose how they want to grow food on their land and the rights of consumers who increasingly choose organic and sustainably grown food for its positive health and environmental impacts. 

Let them know that you care about organic integrity by following this link from Food Democracy Now!, then please pass this on. Please join me in telling President Obama that it's time to stand up to Monsanto and reject these GMO crops today!

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