Obama Believed to Be Behind GMO Alfalfa Push

By Leah Zerbe
Rodale News (excerpts)

“Rumors are that the White House wanted to appease Monsanto and appear friendly to business,” says Marion Nestle.

The announcement to allow farmers to plant GMO alfalfa anywhere—even right beside an organic field—came as something of a surprise to many observers. Though the approval seemed a foregone conclusion, the USDA seemed to be, for the first time, open to the idea of “coexistence” between GMO, conventional, and organic farmers. For instance, one of the proposed options involved keeping a five-mile buffer between GMO alfalfa and organic plantings. And while many scientists believe coexistence is impossible because cross-pollination threatens to contaminate organic crops with modified genes, it was still unprecedented for USDA to even consider organic farmers at the negotiating table. That gave some organic advocates hope.

Cross-contamination—transfer of genes from GMOs to other crops—is already occurring in annual Roundup Ready GMO soy and corn.

As it stands now, though, GMO alfalfa is set to be in fields by this spring, unless President Barack Obama overturns the decision. There’s just one problem with the potential for a presidential overruling. “There were some indications that USDA would insist on some restrictions to ensure the genetic integrity of organic alfalfa, but rumors are that the White House wanted to appease Monsanto [the company that makes GMO alfalfa, as well as the chemical pesticide Roundup sprayed on it] and appear friendly to business,” says Marion Nestle, PhD, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health, and author of Food Politics(University of California Press, 2007). “It’s a win for industrial agriculture and a big setback for organics.”

THE DETAILS: Not withstanding the White House kitchen garden full of heirloom vegetables, the current administration has shown indications of chumminess with big agribusiness. Late last year, USDA secretary Tom Vilsack openly said in a phone call highlighting the final environmental impact statement regarding Roundup Ready alfalfa that USDA must not only support different types of farmers, but also the biotechnology industry that’s invested in creating GMO seeds. It’s no secret the government agency supports the chemical farming system in the U.S. and, as a Wikileaks [1] showed us, around the world.

Even though most people don’t eat alfalfa directly, many eat beef, cheese, or yogurt, or drink milk from alfalfa-eating animals. The organic dairy, grass-fed beef, and even conventional farming sectors that reject GMOs face the biggest threat, because these operations rely on non-GMO alfalfa as one of the main forage crops for their cattle. (Alfalfa also is healthier for cows than the typical factory-fed grains.) Cross contamination—transfer of genes from GMOs to other crops—is already occurring in annual Roundup Ready GMO soy and corn. Scientists say the phenomenon will be even more prevalent in alfalfa because it is a perennial crop.

Read the rest of the report at Rodale News.


[1] See, e.g.:

WikiLeaks: US Ambassador Planned ‘Retaliation’ Against France over Ban on Monsanto GMO Corn
Mike Ludwig, TruthOut, Dec. 22, 2010

Newly Leaked Cable: Pope ‘quietly supportive’ of GMOs
By Rady Ananda, Food Freedom, Dec. 20, 2010

Leaked Cable: Hike food prices to boost GM crop approval
Rady Ananda, Food Freedom, Dec. 14, 2010

Leaked cables reveal GMO, agrofuel agenda in Africa
Richard Brenneman, Eats Shoots ’n Leaves, Dec. 8, 2010

7 responses to “Obama Believed to Be Behind GMO Alfalfa Push

  1. It looks like we are going to have to see a head-on environmental collision before we will see this Unconstitutional federal government stopped! And you wonder if even an environmental disaster would stop them? Paul

  2. The Audacity of hopelessness…

  3. Obamas govt and monsanto…may they burn in hell!

  4. Pingback: alfalfa Fight back against Obama’s deregulation of GM alfalfa « Organic News Net

  5. Obama has been propping up Monsanto from the beginning imo. Look at his cabinet positions? I was very dissappointed with his fda and usda choices, and never thought for one moment he would pick folks that have strong ties to Monsanto and not be in support of gmo?

    Obama’s little garden at the white house is organic, isn’t that just spiffy? While his team of Monsanto puppets feed the rest of us the poison stuff. Yes, he has been propping up Monsanto from the get-go. How can someone be feeding their own family safe wholesome food and not notice the distinction here? Let him grow the dam gmo crops in his own yard if he likes it so much.

  6. As long as profit and control remain the prime motivations, the corporations will destroy the people and the planet. We are getting very close. It’s getting more and more difficult to find any “real” food in the supermarket! “The love of money is the root of all evil” – it should be obvious by now!

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