Monsanto's alfalfa and Obama's betrayal
Monsanto's GE Alfalfa: Obama's Organic Betrayal
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
In last week's Bytes, we made the case that the Organic Elite had betrayed the organic community when they naively sat down to cut a deal for "coexistence" with the USDA, essentially giving up on confronting Monsanto where it matters: in the market (including Whole Foods Market), where unlabeled GMO and factory-farmed foods are routinely purchased by unwitting consumers. OCA chided Organic Inc. for abandoning grassroots "activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions" and internalizing the defeatist notion "that the battle against GMOs has been lost."
At nearly the very moment Bytes was broadcast to our members, news came that President Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack had betrayed the organic industry. As OCA expected, Vilsack, apparently on direct orders from the White House, abandoned the idea of "controlled deregulation" for something much more Monsanto-friendly. Monsanto's controversial RoundUp Ready alfalfa will likely be planted this spring and - like all of the biotech industry's GMOs - it remains untested, unregulated, unrestricted, and unlabeled. It seems that Obama has elected to joins the ranks of Monsanto Minions, just like Bush Jr., Clinton, and Bush Sr. before him.
The good news is that the organic industry is finally showing some anger and passion! In the wake of this betrayal foretold, the Organic Trade Association published an open letter condemning Vilsack's decision, signed by United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), Stonyfield Farm, Organic Valley, as well as a host of organic advocacy groups and individuals, including Michael Pollan. Here's the letter:
The Organic Trade Association also finally criticized Obama directly:
"The hope ignited by electing a president that would represent the people, against special interests and business as usual in Washington, was sadly extinguished when your office chose sides. As quoted by Maureen Dowd in Sunday's New York Times, your chief advisor David Axelrod offered a parting pun to "plow forward" on genetically engineered alfalfa, before heading off to get you re-elected. The cynicism of biotech lobbyists has penetrated the inner most sanctum of your White House and I am deeply disappointed. ... Since GE it is not currently labeled or tracked in our food supply, it is impossible to conduct long-term studies on the link between GE and human health problems.
"I want to be able to choose whether the foods I eat contain genetically engineered ingredients. When it comes to GE crops in America, I will vote for choice both at the grocery store and at the polls in 2012."
"Monsanto Nation: Exposing Monsanto's Minions" by Ronnie Cummins
My exposé last week, "The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?" has ignited a long-overdue debate on how to stop Monsanto's earth killing, market-monopolizing, climate-destabilizing rampage. Should we basically resign ourselves to the fact that the Biotech Bully of St. Louis controls the dynamics of the marketplace and public policy? Should we seek some kind of practical compromise or "coexistence" between organics and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) such as genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, even though scientists point out there is no such thing as containing the genetic pollution from a perennial crop like alfalfa that produces large amounts of pollen and is a favorite food for bee pollinators? Should we focus our efforts on crop pollution compensation and "controlled deregulation" of GE crops, rather than an outright ban, or mandatory labeling and safety-testing? Should we prepare ourselves for a future farm landscape where the U.S.'s 23 million acres of alfalfa (93% of which are currently not sprayed with toxic herbicides), including organic alfalfa, are sprayed with Roundup and/or genetically polluted with Monsanto's mutant Frankenforage?
Or should we stand up and say "Hell No" to Monsanto and its Minions?