More Proof that the World is run by the Rich for the RichPosted: January 29, 2011
The Center for Food Safety took the USDA’s decision to allow unregulated planting of Round-Up Ready Alfalfa to court in 2005, all the way to the Supreme Court, and managed to stop any planting of the bio-mutated forage crop until the USDA had a full environmental impact statement ready. No more sneaking GM crops in the back door by pretending not to notice they were being planted, and then when forced to notice saying, ‘Oh My, Imagine that, how did THAT get there?’, with a hand to a cheek and a distressed look on their pretty little faces.
GM Alfalfa is a BIG step. Nevermind all our sugar beets are soon to be GM, nevermind all the GM tomatoes, GM corn, GM this, GM that. Alfalfa is a perennial. It is pollinated by bees. Bees travel. So anyone growing normal alfalfa within about a 5 mile radius of a GM Alfalfa field is GOING to have their crop contaminated. There is no doubt, nor any question, about it. There is no way to stop it (barring killing the bees, which then kills the plants, ohh wait, we are doing that already!), no way to protect the un-modified crop or un-modified seeds.
Alfalfa is fed to dairy animals. Even mine. GM alfalfa and GM contaminated alfalfa means there will be NO ORGANIC dairy products. Period. Ever. Unless… we change the definition of organic to include GM seed.
So, the USDA and their subsidiary Aphis (can we say that a government branch has a subsidiary? it sounds so… corporate) came up with a plan to gently introduce GM alfalfa, as per the Supreme Court’s instructions. The plan wasn’t great, but it wasn’t all that bad. GM Alfalfa could be planted in states which only grew alfalfa for forage, but did not produce alfalfa seed. For instance, my state, Washington, produces alfalfa seed, so GM Alfalfa could not be planted here. Selfishly, I read that and thought, ‘Pheww, I’m safe.’ Aphis’s plan was, as I said, not perfect. But it was better than wholesale planting of GM alfalfa anywhere.
Vilsack, head of the USDA, looked at the plan. Maybe he even looked at the thousands of comments (over 200,000 actually) on GM Alfalfa left on the government websites; those arcane sites so hard to navigate and comment upon. Overwhelmingly the comments were against GM alfalfa; comments by consumers, by farmers, by dairywomen, by Joe Schmoe on the street. And Vilsack thought it over. He probably consulted friends like the owners of Whole Foods, and Organic Valley and Stoneybrook, great organic food sellers and food producers. Maybe his little brain even steamed. And he made his decision.
He threw out Aphis’ recommendations, the comments of over 200,000, the safety of millions, and is allowing wholesale, unregulated, unsupervised planting of GM Alfalfa. We won’t even have records of who planted what where. Why did he do this? Surely the advice of the owner of Whole foods, the advice of organic companies like Organic Valley and Stoneybrook, surely this mattered? But wait…
Those great, big, ‘defenders’ of the Organic way folded. They told him to go ahead and let it be planted. Money won over principle. Again.
It makes me so angry I want to scream**. Here’s the scoop. Don’t buy Stoneybrook, Don’t buy Organic Valley. Don’t go to Whole Foods for gawds’ sakes. Don’t buy ‘natural’ foods from anyone but the farmer who grows them. If you buy them in the supermarket they are almost assuredly already contaminated by GM food products. And don’t be frapping surprised if every bee in the world dies*, if every farm worker gets cancer from Round-up overexposure, if super weeds begin to take over the world (but it wouldn’t matter then, because without the bees we are toast).
*I’m not convinced that the bee problem doesn’t have something to do with GM crops. It all coincides too neatly.
**Yes, I’m back. It was a rough January, lots of work (I hope to do a gardening post soon), lots of family stuff, lots of depression after Gifford got shot, a cop got away with shooting an innocent woodcarver here in Seattle, and more. All is resolving now and I hope to be back on form!