‘Outrage’ Follows USDA’s Advancement Of New Genetically Engineered Crops

'We need to get off the pesticide treadmill,' said George Naylor, farmer and Center for Food Safety Board Member
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    GMO corn in Yellow Springs, Ohio. (Photo/Lindsay Eyink via Wikimedia Commons)

    GMO corn in Yellow Springs, Ohio. (Photo/Lindsay Eyink via Wikimedia Commons)

    Watchdog groups are denouncing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommendation on Wednesday to approve new varieties of genetically engineered corn and soybeans as a path towards more toxic pesticides that threaten the environment and public health.

    “We are outraged,” stated Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, senior scientist with Pesticide Action Network, adding that the “USDA has turned its back on America’s farmers and rural communities.”

    The new crops are Dow AgroScience’s 2,4-D- and glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans. They are made to be used with Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide, which contains 2,4-D and glyphosate and is also under review by the USDA.

    The decision to advance the crops towards full deregulation flies in face of warnings by food and environmental groups, doctors, scientists, 50 members of Congress, as well as thousands of public comments to the USDA.

    The calls not to green-light the crops focus on the dangers of 2,4-D, whose use the USDA admits will increase at least three-fold with the Enlist package.

    Writing at Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) AgMag blog, Mary Ellen Kustin and Soren Rundquist detail the group’s analysis showing that over 5,600 American schools are within 200 feet from a field where 2,4-D could be sprayed if the Enlist Duo package is fully approved, a particularly noteworthy finding as 2,4-D has been linked to Parkinson’s, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer and other health problems.

    Further, Dow’s strategy of using additional pesticides to tackle the problem of so-called superweeds—like Roundup-resistant weeds—continues a profitable “pesticide treadmill.”

    “Weed resistance is a major problem for farmers and we need a solution. This decision shows that the only options USDA is willing to consider are ones that lead to increased profits for chemical companies. We need to get off the pesticide treadmill, not increase the speed,” George Naylor, Center for Food Safety Board Member and Iowa corn and soybean farmer, said in a statement.

    Genna Reed, a researcher with Food & Water Watch, adds that “the unfair reality is that the weed resistance explosion and increased spraying of 2,4-D that will occur once these crops are approved will have the greatest effect on those farmers who aren’t even growing GMOs or using 2,4-D.”

    In the 30-day public comment period that remains before the USDA can give final approval, groups including the Center for Food Safety and Food & Water Watch are encouraging people to weigh in with their comments to the USDA.


    This article was originally published on Common Dreams.

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    • 2,4-D is a broadleaf vegetation killer that’s a;ready used on lawns & golf courses; it shouldnt affect corn, hence there should be no need to engineer corn resistence to it…unless you want to sell a lot of marked up herbicide and expensive seeds…

    • derek

      The article sounds pretty one-sided and doesn’t mention that the key improvement is the formulation of 2,4-D. The formulation was designed to prevent the droplets from dispersing to minimize non-target drift so that people and non-resistant crops won’t be exposed.

    • John

      Can’t wait to drink some high fructose cancer syrup made with corn contaminated with 2,4-D and glyphosate – or eat a big yummy feedlot steak from a cow with organ failure from force feeding 2,4-D corn and soy while standing in 2 foot deep manure shat out by others cows with organ failure, Welcome to the GMO food model.

    • BRELG

      It’s time for the USDA to come off the childish notion that they can “prove” something does not hurt people because “there’s no evidence of anyone ever being harmed by a GMO crop”. One of the most basic premises of logic is that you can’t prove a negative, and here they are always asserting that they CAN prove a negative. In addition, consumption of food sets off an extremely complex set of interactions and biochemical processes that completely swamp any ability to link direct cause and effect, and any competent scientist at the USDA should realize that. So no, you can’t simplemindedly “prove” GMOs cause harm ( let alone 2,4 D ! ), but you can take note of the explosion in certain diseases, especially pediatric ones, and conclude something is wrong, and we had better return to natural wholesome foods and diminishment of organic chemicals applied to them. That is the logical first step, because these are things being directly ingested into the body. Environmental exposures would run a distant second to things you take directly into the GI tract.

      Oh, and make no mistake, all organic ( which means carbon-based ) chemicals have some degree of residual presence no matter their main dispersal ( evaporation, UV and microbial degradation, plant decomposition, etc. ) method. So, you’re eventually ingesting a tiny bit of any chemical you spray on crops, and all the more when you spray on a LOT.

      • elleryjk

        Oh no they realize it – toxicokinetics and such. It’s just that their lobbyists, in bed with the policymakers who hire the directors who lower the bar for inspectors are getting paid to ignore it.

    • steve

      I have farmed for 40 plus years. When I started 2,4-D was used on corn and milo regularly. It is worse about drift than most herbicides. It was not uncommon for tomatoes in somebodies garden to be killed by 2,4-D a mile from the field it was sprayed on. Also back then many more farmers in our area were diagnosed and died from leukemia than today. May be coincidental but I think not. 2,4D is also very irritating to the lungs. I seldom used it because of the breathing and coughing problems it caused me but that didn’t keep the neighbors from using it. I feel we live in a time when money takes priority over people’s health and lives in America. Very unfortunate for all of us.

      • Nit Wit Know It All

        How many of your neighbors did you kill, or are killing by your “seldom” use? Did you give your profits to a leukemia charity? Are you sick or healthy from the drift?

    • Arizona

      YOU PEOPLE at the us military are headed straight to hell,and your to stupid to know it…..SO KEEP HAVING FUN,with your AW,Snap virus,you ain’t got much time left now,and you’ll be with your DADDY SATAN, IN HELL…………..

      • Nit Wit Know It All

        My Mom divorced c a martin this morning and the settlement assured I would not live with him/her/goat?

        • c a martin

          Your screen name says it all, you are a nitwit.

      • c a martin

        You O.K. man? You do know I was speaking of G.M.O.s and the biotech industry don’t you? You dont think death really writes commits on the web do you?

    • c a martin

      Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds.