Earlier this summer, the USDA posted twelve new GE crops for public comment with a September 11 deadline, and nine are under the new fast-tracked process. That’s twelve new GMOs to review and issue comments on in two months!
Here’s the lowdown. Three of the new crops are under the old petition process. Under the old process there is only one 60-day public comment period. Here are the three crops under the old process:
Since the introduction of GM crops, the US has seen herbicide use increase by over 300 million pounds. Big Biotech originally claimed that weeds would not develop resistance to glyphosate (RoundUp), but they have and these new “superweeds” have become the driving force behind new crops engineered for stacked, or multiple, herbicide tolerances. 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, and as a leading source of dioxin pollution, it’s one of the most deadly. As of yet, however, it’s hardly used on soy at all. Just 3 percent of total US soybean acres were treated with 2,4-D in 2006. Not only will this percentage skyrocket once Agent Orange Soy hits the market, the amount used per acre may triple, according to the USDA.
—Bayer Glyphosate and Isoxaflutole Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0029)
—Syngenta Corn Rootworm Resistant Corn (APHIS-2012-0024)
Under the new process, USDA has also opened nine additional new crops for public comment. This initial comment period applies to the petitions for nonregulated status which include information submitted by the petitioning company. Once 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 process with the same September 11 deadline:
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!
According to the Institute for Science in Society (ISIS), “dicamba is actually an old herbicide that served alongside “agent orange” in Vietnam, and has been resurrected as an environmentally friendly chemical through the magic of public relations.”
—BASF Imidazolinone Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0028)
—Monsanto High Yield Soybean (APHIS-2012-0020)
—Monsanto Glyphosate Tolerant Canola (APHIS-2012-0035)
—Pioneer Glyphosate Tolerant Canola (APHIS-2012-0031)
—Monsanto Hybrid Corn (APHIS-2012-0027)
—Genective Glyphosate Tolerant Corn (APHIS-2012-0046)
USDA Fast-Tracks GMO Crop Approval Process
Despite massive public opposition, last year the USDA announced plans to streamline its genetically engineered petition process under the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Earlier this year these controversial changes were implemented, speeding up the approval process for new genetically engineered seeds and crops. The new process will cut in half the time it takes for new GE seeds and crops to enter the market.
USDA claims that the new fast-track process allows for earlier input from the public to improve the quality of its environmental analyses. But according to a USDA press release, the new process is a part of efforts by the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to “transform USDA into a high-performing organization that focuses on its customers.” The customers that USDA is so keen on assisting are none other than Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, BASF, Syngenta, and the rest of the Biotech bullies!