Organic farmers were alarmed at this decision, saying it could “destroy their supply chains and drastically limit the choices and availability of some popular consumer foods.”
Michael Pollan, the author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” noted that consumers do not eat genetically modified alfalfa, but it is used as the main feed for dairy cows and beef cattle all over the country. Pollan also stated that “…organic milk, one of the most successful and popular organic foods, could be compromised if the organic cows eat non-organic feed.”
Monsanto’s crops are for the most part, herbicide resistant, which is resulting in “super weeds” all over the country and around the world. Monsanto claims that Round-Up ready alfalfa has been welcomed by many farmers, because it yields “healthier, faster-growing stands and hay with fewer weeds in every bale.” When a farmer enters into a contract with Monsanto, he or she has to abide by very strict rules. One such rule is that the farmer is not allowed to save seeds, but must buy new seeds every year, from Monsanto. In fact, in 2000, Monsanto sued a family farm because the farmers had saved soybeans. Monsanto sues a lot of family farms.
Over the December break in 2011, the Department of Agriculture made another decision regarding genetically engineered crops and Monsanto. This time it was MON 87640, a genetically engineered corn developed by Monsanto in partnership with German chemical giant, BASF. MON 87640 is drought resistant and in a PDF, the Department of Agriculture wrote that MON 87640 corn and its progeny “would have no significant impacts, individually or collectively, on the quality of the human environment and will have no effect on federally listed threatened or endangered species, species proposed for listing, or their designated or proposed critical habitats.” They made this determination by analyzing data presented to them by Monsanto.
Dow hopes to follow in Monsanto’s footsteps by proposing a genetically altered corn of their own, which is being engineered to be more resistant to 2,4 D, a powerful herbicide. 2,4 D is also one of the key ingredients in Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War for defoliating forests and croplands. Monsanto and Dow were the two largest manufacturers of Agent Orange for the Defense Department during Vietnam.
In 2009, the Obama administration nominated Michael Taylor to take over the position of senior advisor to the commissioner of thee FDA. Mr. Taylor’s most recent position prior to his nomination and approval, was vice president and chief lobbyist for Monsanto. Mr. Taylor had also worked for the FDA in the 1990’s and oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, rbGH/rbST, which was injected into cows to increase milk supply. The milk from injected cows is filled with antibiotics, growth hormones, often contains pus, and, most importantly, contains more insulin-like growth factor IGF-1. IGF-1 is a huge risk factor for many common types of cancers and is why so many schools, hospitals and medical organizations took a hard stand against bovine growth hormones, and continue to do so to this day.
In 2007, during a campaign speech, President Obama made this statement:
“We’ll tell ConAgra that it’s not the Department of Agribusiness. It’s the Department of Agriculture. We’re going to put the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.”
Genetically engineered corn. Round-Up ready alfalfa. Michael Taylor, former VP and lobbyist for Monsanto in a very key position within the Food and Drug Administration. Dow Chemical hoping for the same treatment with their FrankenCorn. Is this all done in the name of the people’s interests?
I hold all politicians accountable for their words and their actions, no matter the political party to which they belong. If you are a first time congressman or the President of the United States, I hold you accountable. As a mother, I want to know why the Obama administration is allowing Monsanto to run amuck. President Obama works for me, and for you, and even for your crazy right wing neighbor. Odds are, the neighbor didn’t vote for him, but I did, and I will again but we deserve an answer.
What about those of us who volunteered and bought t-shirts and bumper stickers as well as donated money we may not have been able to afford to your campaign? We deserve to know, Mr. Obama, why you brought the fox into the hen house, and why your administration is allowing Monsanto to plant corn with a code name and Round-Up ready alfalfa. We deserve an answer.
We thank the following for their contributions:
ABCNews.com, The New York Times, The Omnivore’s Dilemna by Michael Pollan, the USDA, Huffington Post.