The Frightening ​USDA Ruling In Favor of Frankenfoods

October 27, 2015
by Steve Holt for Thrive Market
The Frightening ​USDA Ruling In Favor of Frankenfoods

Just three weeks after 19 European countries told the European Union they wanted no part of a new genetically modified crop, we were reminded this week how our federal government feels about “frankenfood.”

Monsanto’s newest genetically engineered corn seed—MON 87411, which the biotech company developed to fight rootworms and be tolerant to glyphosate herbicides—cleared an important regulatory hurdle Friday when the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services deregulated the seed.

The board ruled that the seed poses “no significant threat to agricultural crops, other plants, or the environment,” clearing it to be assessed by other regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regulators in other countries.

Despite the multiyear safety and approval process genetically engineered crops undergo before coming to market, it’s unlikely any U.S. agency will stop its progress, let alone any federal official. Monsanto is counting on it, in fact: it told Reuters in a statement that plans are already under way for a full commercial release of the company’s SmartStax PRO, a product line featuring MON 87411 maize, by 2020.

And why shouldn’t Monsanto be confident? The company has faced few political challenges at the federal level to its products coming to market, staying there, and earning Monsanto lots and lots of money.

Take last week’s Senate Agricultural Committee meeting, for instance. It was the committee’s first hearing addressing biotechnology and GMO labeling in a decade, with industry officials announcing the inherent safety of biotechnology and pushing for passage of the DARK Act, which would overturn state-level GMO labeling initiatives. For their part, senator after senator from both parties parroted the talking points of Monsanto, Syngenta, and the agribusiness lobby in praising technologies they say “have helped create more food” and “helped keep our food safe.”

GMO opponents were furious.

“Rather than an honest dialogue on the merits and risks of GMOs and the need for new common sense regulations, the Senate Ag committee decided to run a show trial for Monsanto that whitewashed GMOs,” wrote Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now! after the hearing.

Worse than that, though, senators and a strategically selected group of GMO-friendly experts roundly dismissed the categorization of glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp weedkiller and a reason why MON 87411 was developed—by the state of California and the World Health Organization as “probably” being a cancer-causing agent.

To summarize, we have elected officials ignoring scientific research and siding with industry against an American public, the majority of which believes genetically modified foods are unsafe to consume and should be labeled.

Sometimes it feels like we’re living in bizarro world, doesn’t it?

Photo credit: Sharon Drummond via Flickr

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This article is related to: Non-GMO, Organic, GMO, Genetically engineered, Food System

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  • allan foth

    As a Vietnam Veteran sprayed and betrayed by Monsanto's Agent Orange; every educated American needs to sue Monsanto as their Franken foods will kill every American and their children. Their smooth talking lobbiest are nothing but inch worms; that need to be stomped out;they do not know truth only lies. Their billions need to be cut down to $50.00 a month to live on their Franken foods and all cancers will run rampent within all their families and they will not be able to stop or cure any of it. Educated Americans wake up now and save your families from every cancer currently known to civilization in the USA. Sue,sue and resue until Monsanto is buried. allan foth

  • Charzie

    Living in virtual poverty I have no legal recourse against these evil greedy pigs, but I can and do make a stand by refusing to support them by growing my own food and saving my seed. If everyone would do the same they would not be able to survive! Even if you just grow some salad in pots, or sprouts in jars, TAKE BACK REAL FOOD!

  • moderationpreferred

    Typical politicians, bought off morons. Too stupid to realize that they and their families will be consuming this crap too.