Get ready to see the death of organic foods, and the rise of genetically engineered produce.
After twelve years of battle and protests, the "Organic Elite," including Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stoneyfield Farm, surrendered to Monsanto's GE crops, calling for a co-existence between organic farmers and those supporting GE crops. The recent crop in question was Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa, which is herbicide resistant or "Roundup Ready." Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the official announcement on Thursday to allow the unrestricted commercial production of the mutated alfalfa. And while the Agriculture Department "considered" putting a restriction on where the GE crop can be grown, no such action was taken.
It has been suggested that Organic Inc. surrendered because they have grown weary of continual pressure from organic consumers to protest and petition. Whole Food Market has admitted that the surrender is most likely permanent, stating "The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." It has been whispered that they believe the battle against genetically modified foods has already been lost. What makes this even more sad is that after their surrender, they asked for "compensation." It's a shame there is no way to compensate for the health of the public.
Why was this decision bad?
Organic alfalfa seeds are still available to organic farmers, but while only one percent of US grown alfalfa is actually organic, cross-pollination is inevitable. Alfalfa is grown primarily to make hay for dairy cows and horses to consume, effecting the dairy foods we eat. Not only will organic farmers pay heavy sums for testing on their own crops, but those of us who choose not to drink contaminated milk with also see prices raise. Other negative effects of Roundup Ready alfalfa are soil contamination, an increase in greenhouse gases, and the creation of new superweeds that will only bring forth stronger and deadlier herbicides.
Quotes and information for this article were derived from The Huffington Post website, and nytimes.com.
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