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Tell Obama, Vilsack, Monsanto and Dow – NO more Rubberstamps!

Submitted by Food Democracy Now on September 10, 2012 - 10:58am

Keep the latest generation of toxic chemicals and GMOs off your plate!

Dear President Obama and Secretary Vilsack - NO more Rubberstamps on GMOs!

Tell the USDA, Monsanto and Dow Chemical, NO More Rubberstamps on GMOs!

Once again, the USDA and their friends at Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow Chemical are back at it – frantically working behind the scenes to rubberstamp new genetically engineered crops that are potentially damaging to human health and the environment with little or no serious scientific review to vouch for their long-term safety.

Earlier this summer, the USDA posted 12 new genetically engineered crops for public comment. In what can only be a perverse irony, public comments are due tomorrow, September 11th. Even more alarming than 12 new genetically engineered crops is the fact that 9 of the 12 new GMO crops are under a new fast-tracked process. This means USDA scientists will have even less time to properly review the shoddy corporate science that these corporations are allowed to submit in order to support their new untested products for approval.

That’s right, no independent peer-reviewed studies are required under the current biotech regulatory system to guarantee the long-term safety of these new genetically engineered crops before they’re approved, despite an increasing number of studies that indicate that GMOs have potentially irreversible impacts on health and the environment.

Tell President Obama and Secretary Vilsack that it’s time to end the USDA’s rubberstamp of new GMO crops. Join Food Democracy Now! and our allies in calling for serious, independent peer-reviewed scientific studies to be conducted before the approval of any more GMOs.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/stop_rubberstamping_GMOs/

With more than 12 million acres of Roundup Ready superweeds across the U.S. and Monsanto’s Bt insecticide corn failing in the Midwest with the rise of new superbugs resistant to its genetically engineered insecticide, biotech companies are desperate to launch new products and have worked behind the scenes with Secretary Vilsack’s office to create a new regulatory scheme to fast-track new GMO crops.

Currently, 3 of the 12 crops are applying under the old petition process that allows for one 60-day public comment period and 9 crops are awaiting approval under the new fast-track process.

New GMO Crops Under Old Review Process

1. Dow 2,4-D and Glufosinate Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0019)

Since the introduction of GMOs more than 16 years ago, industrial biotech farmers have rapidly increased use of the preferred herbicide Roundup by more than 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008. As a result of the rampant overuse of Roundup, more than 12 million acres of U.S. farmland are currently invested with superweeds, forcing farmers and biotech companies to use even more toxic chemical pesticides and exotic new GMO crops.

Adoption of these new crops will lead to dramatic increases in the use of higher risk herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba, perpetuating the herbicide treadmill that is already in place.

2,4-D is already the third-most-used US herbicide, after glyphosate and atrazine. Currently, however, 2,4-D is hardly used on soy at all, with just 3 percent of total US soybean acres were treated with 2,4-D in 2006. If approved by the USDA, this percentage will skyrocket once Agent Orange Soy hits the market and the amount used per acre may triple, according to the USDA.

2. Bayer Glyphosate and Isoxaflutole Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0029)

Even as Monsanto’s flagship GMO seeds - Roundup Ready seeds tolerant to glyphosate, the main chemical component of Roundup - are failing in farmers’ fields, Bayer is introducing a new stacked GMO soybean with glyphosate tolerant genes in addition to the widely known carcinogenic herbicide Isoxaflutole, which studies have indicated that it “induced liver and thyroid tumors in rats and liver tumors in mice” and has been classified as “likely to be a human carcinogen".

Not sure how this is an improvement in food production, but chemical and biotech companies have a funny way of denying the potential harms of their products and in the U.S we think it’s time to usher in an era of more responsible science.

3. Syngenta Rootworm Resistant Corn (APHIS-2012-0024)

Already Monsanto’s Bt insecticide corn has failed in fields all across the Midwest, with scientists from Iowa State University discovering a new breed of corn rootworm that have become resistant to the genetically engineered Bt insecticide which are contained in every cell of the GMO Bt corn, making it a living insecticide. Last year a Canadian study found that 93% of pregnant women and 80% of fetal blood samples contained this Bt toxin in their blood. Now Syngenta wants to release a new insecticidal corn?

Sorry folks, but citizens need real independent peer-reviewed scientific studies before our federal agencies can rubberstamp a new generation of biotech crops that are certain to fail just as the first generation already has.

Tell President Obama and Secretary Vilsack that it’s time to end the USDA’s rubberstamp of new GMO crops. Join Food Democracy Now! and our allies in calling for serious, independent peer-reviewed scientific studies to be conducted before the approval of any more GMOs.

Unfortunately, even as the first generation of biotech crops is failing, both the Obama administration and biotech industry are continuing to double down on this deeply flawed technology. In this new super comment period, 5 of the new crops are genetically engineered to be tolerant to Glyphosate, the leading superweed creator on the market, while others are introducing genes to make the new GMO crops resistant to older, more toxic herbicides.

On top of this, a Canadian company, Okanagan, is introducing a new GMO apple that has been genetically engineered so the apple will not brown when sliced like normal apples. The idea is so unnecessary and absurd, that even the apple industry is against it. If approved, this new non-browning “Arctic Apple” would commercialize GMO Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties that would be completely unlabeled under current U.S. regulations.

Under this new process, USDA has also opened nine additional new crops for public comment. This initial comment period applies to the petitions for non-regulated status, which includes information submitted by the petitioning company. Once the USDA has the completed their environmental analyses they will open a final 30-day comment period for the decision-making documents. 

Here are the 9 crops under the new fast-track process with the same September 11 deadline, which will be followed up with an additional comment period:

4. Okanagan Non-Browning Apple (APHIS-2012-0025) 

Okanagan's "Arctic" apple would be the first genetically engineered version of a food that people directly bite into. According to the latest study by the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown apples are the most pesticide contaminated fruit or vegetable on the market. Conventional apples are dangerous, and GMO apples are just a dumb idea - one not even supported by many in the apple industry itself! 

5. Dow 2,4-D, Glyphosate and Glufosinate tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0032)

6. Monsanto Dicamba Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0047) 

According to the Institute for Science in Society (ISIS), "dicamba is actually an old herbicide widely use alongside ‘agent orange’ in Vietnam, and has been resurrected as an environmentally friendly chemical through the magic of public relations".

7. BASF Imidazolinone Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0028)

8. Monsanto High Yield Soybean (APHIS-2012-0020)

9. Monsanto Glyphosate Tolerant Canola (APHIS-2012-0035)

10. Pioneer Glyphosate Tolerant Canola (APHIS-2012-0031)

11. Monsanto Hybrid Corn (APHIS-2012-0027)

12. Genective Glyphosate Tolerant Corn (APHIS-2012-0046)

This is the new biotech agenda coming to a plate near you soon if you don’t stand up. It’s time to stand up for real science versus corporate science. America’s citizens need real independent peer-reviewed scientific studies before our federal agencies can rubberstamp a new generation of biotech crops.

Tell President Obama and Secretary Vilsack that it’s time to end the USDA’s rubberstamp of new GMO crops. Join Food Democracy Now! and our allies in calling for serious, independent peer-reviewed scientific studies to be conducted before the approval of any more GMOs. 

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