and the Biotech Industry
to Police Itself!
"Genetically modified organisms, planted on 165 millions acres of US farmland, are damaging public health and the environment and undermining climate stability. GM crops have increased the use of toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, destroyed soil fertility and carbon-sequestering capacity, spawned super-weeds, contaminated organic & non-GMO crops, and are less nutritious and more likely to trigger allergies, in general making plants, animals and human beings weaker and disease-prone. Genetically engineered corn for ethanol has decreased grain supplies, raised food prices, and increased world hunger; meanwhile generating the same carbon footprint (greenhouse gas pollution) as conventional gasoline. Genetically engineered trees, fish, and farm animals pose similar hazards to human and environmental health.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has aided and abetted Monsanto and the biotech lobby by failing to accurately assess the environmental and climate impacts of GMOs, just as they have failed to properly assess the monumental damage of chemical agriculture. Now, APHIS, using the excuse of efficiency and cutting costs, wants to turn over the job of conducting environmental assessments to biotech companies like Monsanto that have a vested interested in getting their new GMOs deregulated.
This is a very dangerous game to play with the future of food, agriculture, and our common environment and climate. Tell APHIS to halt their pilot program and instead put their resources towards a more vigorous review of the potential harms of new GMO crops and animals."
Sample Letter - Sent by Rose Marie Raccioppi, April 28, 2011. To: Administrator Smith via Organic Consumers Association Mail System:
Thank you for using Organic Consumers Association Mail System.
April 28, 2011
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are already wreaking environmental havoc. GMOs are increasing the use of toxic pesticides; spawning super-weeds; contaminating organic & non-GMO crops; producing food that is less nutritious and more likely to trigger allergies; and making plants, animals and human beings more susceptible to disease, infertility and cancer.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is to blame because it has failed to accurately assess the environmental impacts GMOs. Now, APHIS wants to turn over the job of conducting environmental assessments to biotech companies like Monsanto with a vested interested in getting their new GMOs deregulated.
This is a very dangerous game to play with the future of US food production. I urge you to halt this pilot program and instead put APHIS resources towards a more vigorous review of the potential harms of new GMO crops and animals.
Please consider the following:
Plant pathologist Don Huber claims that top scientists have found a new, harmful organism linked to Roundup and Roundup Ready technology that causes diseases in some crops and is linked to spontaneous abortions and infertility in livestock.
Huber wrote to USDA Secretary Vilsack that the organism could lead to a "general collapse of our critical agriculture infrastructure" and further approval of Roundup Ready crops "could be a calamity."
Huber says he isn't philosophically opposed to genetically modified crops, but given what he and other scientists have discovered about them, it would be prudent for the USDA to declare a moratorium on the further deregulation of crops that are genetically modified to resist glyphosate herbicides, sold under the trade name Roundup by Monsanto.
He believes the moratorium should be extended to alfalfa and sugar beets and only lifted if further research exonerates the Roundup Ready system.
"There are enough indicators that a little caution would be prudent at this time," Huber said. "Let's be a little more cautious until we can see the problem we're having better. Let's get more research before we possibly make it worse."
Huber, professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue, claims the microscopic pathogen is prolific in plants infected with two common diseases - sudden death syndrome in soybeans and Goss' wilt in corn - and he says lab tests have confirmed its presence in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility.
If Roundup Ready genes or the herbicide promote or are factors in the pathogen, he said, then approving its use in sugar beets and alfalfa "could be a calamity."
Research has shown the use of glyphosate may make some plants more susceptible to disease.
Huber said a diverse team of senior plant and animal scientists has discovered a new organism they believe significantly impacts plant and animal health. He said they claim it is widespread and found in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready corn and soybeans.
The previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope and is about the size of a medium-sized virus, Huber said. It appears to be a microfungus-like organism and can reproduce, the first such microfungus ever identified.
In his letter to Vilsack, Huber said there is "strong evidence the organism promotes diseases in both plants and animals, which is very rare." He also says it has been found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, distillers meal, fermentation feed products, pig stomach contents and pig and cattle placentas.
Huber says he got involved in the research after being contacted by veterinarians whose clients were experiencing significant problems with their herds. They had traced the problem to the animals' feed and asked him to attack the problem from the plant side.
Huber has studied plant pathogens for 50 years and his work has focused on the ecology of soilborne plant pathogens. A retired Army colonel, Huber studied natural and human-caused biological threats, germ warfare and disease outbreaks while in the military.
He has worked on several international research projects and authored or co-authored more than 300 journal articles. He is APS coordinator of USDA's National Plant Disease Recovery System.
(Source: "Professor Inflames Biotech Controversy," by Sean Ellis, Capitol
Press, April 14, 2011.)
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Rose Marie Raccioppi