USDA Gives Monsanto the Green Light

USDA+MonsantoOnce again, the USDA gives the nod to the biotech seed and agrochemical industry over protests from organic farmers and other specialty crop growers.  This latest “technology” from Monsanto—that’s what they call their patented seeds—is genetically engineered to survive new and more potent weed killer combinations.

January 15.  The USDA has given final approval for the commercial release of two new herbicide tolerant varieties of soybeans and cotton from Monsanto.  Non-regulated status was granted for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, the industry’s first biotech-stacked trait with both dicamba and glyphosate herbicide tolerance, and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton which will allow farmers to apply multiple combinations of three herbicides:  dicamba, glyphosate, and glufosinate.  Dicamba is noted for a tendency to drift.

Food & Water Watch Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter, calls this “simply the latest example of USDA’s allegiance to the biotechnology industry and dependence upon chemical solutions.”

Biotech seed and agrochemical companies like Monsanto and Dow, who received approval for its new Enlist Duo 2,4-D+glyphosate resistant corn and soy last fall, have developed these new generations of GMO seeds and their companion herbicides to “combat” the spread of the glyphosate-resistant Superweeds that are now estimated to infest over 70 million acres of American farm land.

“Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant crops are the latest fruits of a pesticide industry strategy to increase sales of their toxic herbicides,” said Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety science policy analyst. “Genetic engineering is making American agriculture more chemical-dependent and less sustainable than ever before.”

This escalation of the chemical war on weeds cannot end well.  By definition, sustainable agriculture incorporates practices that will protect biodiversity and remain productive in the long term.  Despite industry claims, their products do not contribute to development of sustainable food systems recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

About IRT.  The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) is a non-profit organization that researches and reports news and information about the health risks of genetically engineered food.  GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are present in processed foods and many food products.

Major commodity crops raised from GMO seed include:  corn (90%), soybeans (93%), canola (93%), cotton (90%), and sugar beets (98%).*  GMO sweet corn, papaya, zucchini, and yellow summer squash are also for sale in grocery stores, but in lesser amounts.  Genetically modified alfalfa is grown for use as hay and forage for animals.   For more information about avoiding GMOs in food, go to

*percentages are based on U.S. acreage as of 2013 (USDA)



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