Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reading for a good laugh: Monsanto wants carte blanch for Roundup Ready alfalfa.

I mean it.

Monsanto wants "unregulated" status from the USDA for its Roundup Ready alfalfa. Read the EIS (environmental impact statement) required as per court order here. It's HYSTERICAL!

I feel like this should be on that Saturday Night Live Weekend Update sketch "Really?!? with Seth and Amy".

Basically, Monsanto wants it's genetically modified alfalfa to be unregulated by the USDA. No biggie, right? The plant is pretty benign. The threshold question is whether it poses any risk to plant pests or not. Well, the crop itself probably doesn't. Except loss of biodiveristy, but that's another ball of wax.

The problem is the spraying of Roundup across miles and miles of alfalfa fields (literally as alfalfa is grown in 48 of the 50 states). Well, guess what? The USDA doesn't regulate the use of herbicides. The EPA does. The USDA only regulates the use genetically modifed crops. So, at the end of the day, we can debate the hazards of herbicides and pesticides on our water supply, other plants and animals, and in our food all we want to the USDA. They can't do a damn thing. It all seems like an academic exercise. Just another example of the ridiculousness of regulatory scheme of a substance that each human being needs to survive: food.

By the way, the main use for most of the alfalfa grown in the US? Food for dairy cows. Dare I ask what happens to alfalfa that has residue of Roundup on it when it's eaten by a dairy cow? Well, Monsanto assures us (I and TOTALLY trust them...) that it is excreted through urine and feces, not milk, in lactating animals. Can you hear Amy Poler exclaiming "Really!?!" in the background?

Nonetheless, anyone reading this should still comment. The public comment periods runs until February 16, 2010. Here's where you comment. For more information, check out Civil Eats' article here.

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