by Rona Fried
Evidence of corporate control and disrespect for the desires of citizens is in full color today as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the worst GMOs yet.
Dow AgroSciences won approval for its Agent Orange GMO over the objections of hundreds of thousands of Americans, health professionals and more than 50 members of Congress. 800-plus farmers filed an official petition with USDA, warning that if this GMO is introduced to the environment it will directly harm their crops, livelihoods and health. This chemical arms race with weeds must stop, they say.
Dow’s Enlist Duo corn and soybeans are genetically engineered to resist massive doses of a combination of 2,4-D- (an active ingredient in Agent Orange) and glyphosate (the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide).
The most potent GMO yet, it’s supposedly needed because weeds have adapted to "gentler" herbicides. Can you imagine turning to Agent Orange to kill weeds? USDA even admits using Enlist will lead to a 3-7-fold increase in pesticide use – and weeds will adapt to it too.
"Because 2,4-D is prone to drifting away from the field where it is applied, increased use of the herbicide will put grapes, tomatoes and all other specialty crops that are not engineered to withstand exposure to 2,4-D at risk," notes Food & Water Watch.
Ironically, when GMOs were first introduced in 1996, the propaganda used to sell them was that fewer chemicals and less spraying would be needed.
"USDA’s announcement is an outrageous abdication of USDA’s responsibility to protect our health and our food supply. The Obama Administration has ignored the interests and demands of millions of Americans, members of Congress, and scientists, farmers, and health professionals," says Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.
"Farmers have been sold the lie that they can increase yields and prevent crop failure from weeds by buying Monsanto’s and Dow’s GMO seeds and dousing them in toxic poisons, also manufactured and sold by Monsanto and Dow. But just as scientists predicted, these "miracle" crops are evolving to resist the poisons thrown on them, causing the USDA and the EPA to approve increasingly toxic poisons to fight increasingly resistant weeds. Where does the escalation end?", retorts Ronnie Cummins, Director of the Organic Consumers Association.
And this stuff is going into the food system. As a systemic weed-killer, the chemicals aren’t just on the surface of plants, they spread throughout the interior – meaning, it’s in the food you eat (if you don’t stick with organic). Because of the widespread use of glyphosate, it’s now found in most peoples’ blood. 2,4-D causes even more concern because it is linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
Add to that the galling request by Syngenta to the EPA – to raise allowable neonic pesticide levels – the group of pesticides that’s killing bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
GMO Labeling News
Dow’s approval makes it more urgent that GMO foods be labeled, and it’s on the ballot in November in Colorado and Oregon (where two counties banned GMO crops).
Activists in both states submitted about 156,000 signatures each for referendums expected to be flooded with corporate money from the Big Food, represented by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and Big Pesticides, such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dupont.
Food giants spending big include "sustainability leaders" Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Nestle, General Mills.
Earlier this year, Vermont became the first state to require GMO labels. Luckily, they included a legal defense fund in the legislation because it didn’t take long for these same companies to file a lawsuit.
They won in Kauai County, Hawaii last month when a judge ruled in favor of GMO seed companies because the local ordinance is pre-empted by state law. The county’s law simply required companies to disclose their use of pesticides and GMO crops and those using large amounts keep a buffer zone around sensitive places like hospitals and schools!
Read our article, DARK Act Anti-GMO Labeling Bill Introduced in Congress, about national legislation that would make these efforts illegal, and Global Coalition Forms to Take On GMO Agriculture.
Final Approval For Agent Orange GMO Rests With EPA
Now that the USDA and EPA have approved Enlist crops, EPA has to approve Dow’s request to use the herbicide on the crops.
Tell EPA NOT to approve it!: