Updates on the Battle Against GMO

by Catherine Haug, June 2, 2011

The battle over GMO (genetically modified organisms)/GE (genetically engineered) foods continues in federal courts and in the court of public opinion. Several crops and foods are at the forefront of this battle.

[See my post Health Hazards of GMO Foods & Crops for more on what GMO/GE means, and how it can be hazardous for your health and that of your family.]

GMO/GE Battles

GMO sugar beets

In December of last year, the Center for Food Safety announced that a federal court “issued a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law: See  OCA web: Winning the Battle on GMOs in the United States for more.

In February 2011, the USDA ignored this court decision and gave the go-ahead to plant a 2011 GMO sugar beet crop. Have they no shame? See Rodale: USDA Approves Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets for more.

Fortunately, the federal court stepped in again, halting the USDA action in May 2011. See Court Says No GM Sugar Beets Without Final EIS

This back and forth has been going on since the USDA originally approved GMO sugar beets in 2008. It is likely to continue until GMO is finally outlawed.

GE Salmon

There are many other GMO battles yet to be resolved. Perhaps one of the most crucial is the fight over GE salmon. Here are some articles from the Center for Food Safety on this topic:

GMO Alfalfa

GMO Alfalfa was deregulated by the USDA in January 2011; in March 2011, the Center for Food Safety and Earth Justice filed a lawsuit against the USDA regarding this decision. See Farmers and Consumer Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Approval for more. The largest consumer of alfalfa are US dairies; as another way to fight back against the USDA decision, the Center for Food safety is circulating a petition to US dairies: Tell U.S. Dairies You Don’t Want GE Alfalfa.

Seed Biodiversity Under Threat by Biotech Companies

This article from the Center for Food Safety says it far better than I can: Save Our Seeds: The Number One threat to Seed Biodiversity: Corporate Takeover of Commercial Seeds by Major Chemical/Biotechnology companies

Stopping GMO

The most efficient way to stop GMOs is not in the courts. Congress needs to enact laws to limit or curtail GMO development, and to give the USDA and other appropriate agencies the desire and the teeth to regulate and shut down inappropriate GMO and other biotech research.

Another way is for all of us to vote with our wallets. Stop purchasing foods that are GMO or have potential to be contaminated with GMO (such as meat from livestock fed GMO feed). The only problem with this is that it is hard to know which foods are GMO, because labeling is not mandatory. If this is something that concerns you, sign the Center for Food Safety’s petition: Tell Congress to Label Genetically Engineered Food!

In the mean time, your best option: buy local from producers you know and trust; otherwise, buy 100% Organic.

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