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GMO companies now allowed to police themselves

http://www.fastcompany.com/1749695/monsanto-now-allowed-to-police-itself

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-04/government-oks-biotech-companies-performing-their-own-environmental-tests

 


Monsanto Will Soon Be Allowed To Police Itself

BY Ariel SchwartzMon Apr 25, 2011

Monsanto

Monsanto, enemy of organic farmers and anti-GMO advocates alike, will likely be allowed to conduct its own environmental studies as part of a two-year USDA experiment. But there is no good that can possibly come of an experiment where the company behind nearly every genetically modified crop in our daily diets is allowed to decide whether its products are causing any environmental harm. And Monsanto isn't the only biotech company that will be permitted to police itself.

As it stands, the USDA is responsible for assessing environmental impacts of new GMO crops. The agency has been lax about this, to say the least. In 2005, the USDA gave Monsanto the go-ahead to unleash its sugar beets before preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. This decision eventually triggered a judge to rule that Monsanto sugar beet seedlings should be ripped from the ground.

Because the USDA is so bad at doing its job on time, the agency decided to see if anyone else was prepared to do its safety testing work instead. And so it looks like the USDA will at least temporarily hand over environmental impact reporting responsibilities to the biotech companies behind GMO crops. The pilot program will allow these companies to conduct their own environmental assessments of crops or outsource the work to contractors. The USDA will still get the final say in determining the safety of crops.

The USDA won't actually admit that it's bad at performing its duties--instead, the agency claims that the move will make the environmental reporting process more timely, efficient, and cost-effective, according to the Federal Register (PDF). No knock on Monsanto, which is surely made up of great, honest people, but if the company has a vested interest in getting one of its crops deregulated, why wouldn't it try to fudge the numbers on an environmental review? And why wouldn't its hired contractors do the same? If this wasn't so dangerous, it would be funny.

Already, GMO crops are causing environmental problems. Monsanto's Roundup Ready soy, corn, and cotton have spawned Roundup-resistant superweeds, which force farmers to douse their crops in even more Roundup Ready pesticides (that's called synergy). And cross-pollination between GMO and non-GMO crops is making it ever more difficult for companies to stay organic.

Don't expect any immediately catastrophic changes to the food-supply chain. Instead, the USDA's experiment may slowly push through more GMO crops into fields and onto our plates. One day, we may realize that these crops have triggered irreversible damages. At least we'll know exactly who to blame.

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Re: GMO companies now allowed to police themselves

  • I give up.  Seriously.  I.Give.Up.  As if the USDA approval process wasn't enough of a joke already, now the biotech companies get to write their own Environmental Assessments (EAs).  I write EAs for a living, and this is a monunmentally bad idea.  Monsanto and the other GMO companies can fudge their own numbers, hire their own "experts," and provide the impact of their own crops.

    The world is doomed. Indifferent

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  • From the second link:

    In Capital Press, Bill Freese, science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety, said ?It's like asking BP to write an assessment of an offshore drilling operation.?

     

    Or having the Food and Drug Administration let drug companies test the safety and efficacy of new drugs, one commenter points out.

     

    Exactly my thoughts my I saw the title of this post... Checks and balances obviously does not apply to Mansanto.

     

    [IMG]http://i45.tinypic.com/2zi3sxi.jpg[/IMG]
  • Ditto what everyone has said. This is completely ridiculous! I wish there were something I could do other than buy local and organic.
    Photobucket image
  • Ugh.  H and I finally watched Food, Inc. this weekend and I can't even start to discuss how much they disgust me.  I was getting so irrationally angry during that section that H had to tell me to stop yelling at the TV. :-)
    Vacation

    Vacation
  • Yowzer!  This is bad news.  Super_Green, don't give up!!  We need folks like you on the inside to keep the cause alive.

    Maybe a different angle is to have a different approach.  (This is totally random) But I know that Prince Charles is coming to the US in May to discuss sustainable agricultural practices and organic farming....maybe if there's a global resistance to US GM foods and enough diplomats in other countries we can change the mindset of our powers that be.  If we can't export our food, it will hurt the economy, and it seems that the ONLY thing folks in our government will listen to is $$.

  • image derky17:

    Yowzer!  This is bad news.  Super_Green, don't give up!!  We need folks like you on the inside to keep the cause alive.

    Maybe a different angle is to have a different approach.  (This is totally random) But I know that Prince Charles is coming to the US in May to discuss sustainable agricultural practices and organic farming....maybe if there's a global resistance to US GM foods and enough diplomats in other countries we can change the mindset of our powers that be.  If we can't export our food, it will hurt the economy, and it seems that the ONLY thing folks in our government will listen to is $$.

    This is a good thought, but most other countries, including the UK, already ban GMO foods on the basis of food safety.  They have for over a decade.  Those bans are becoming shaky because U.S. exports of GMOs are so cheap.  So those countries are considered dropping their bans.  I bet *that's what* Prince Charles is coming here to talk about, not how great organic farming is. Tongue Tied

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