GE Alfalfa Contamination in the US Proves Warnings Right
|Publication date: September 19, 2013|
Posting date: September 19, 2013
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and Colleagues
Re: GE Alfalfa Contamination in the US Proves Warnings Right
Alfalfa seed and plant samples taken from an Eastern Washington farm have been confirmed by Washington State’s Department of Agriculture to have been contaminated by Monsanto’sgenetically engineered (GE) variety resistant to the company’s herbicide, Round-Up. The testing followed a report by a farmer after a consignment of his hay was rejected for shipment by a broker who found it to contain the genetic trait.
GE alfalfa was approved for commercial cultivation in 2011 amidst strenuous objections, including legal action, from civil society over a decade. Because alfafa is a perennial crop, widely prevalent in wild/feral forms, and largely pollinated by bees, critics repeatedly warned that GE ‘Roundup Ready’ alfalfa would likely irreparably contaminate natural alfalfa varieties and harm conventional and organic growers' businesses.
Alfalfa is the fourth-most widely grown field crop in the US covering over 17 million acres with an export market valued at USD 1.25 billion. Alfalfa is also the “queen of forages” for the national dairy industry and especially the organic diary sector, now worth USD 26 billion a year and growing at 20% annually. GE contamination could cause the organic dairies to lose their key source of organic feed.
This is the second case of GE crop contamination in the US this year. The first involved experimental GE wheat (only approved for field trials) which should have been quarantined or destroyed in 2005 when Monsanto abandoned the project. Following its discovery in a field in Oregon in May 2013, Japan and South Korea temporarily stopped its imports of some US wheat.
"It's telling that these things keep happening repeatedly," said George Kimbrell, a senior attorney with Centre for Food Safety. "It's a systemic problem. We have a failed regulatory system for these crops."
With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
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Exclusive: Washington state testing alfalfa for GMO contamination
Carey Gillam, Reuters
Baltimore Sun, September 11 2013
The Associated Press, September 13 2013
SPOKANE - Alfalfa seed and plant samples taken from an Eastern Washington farm contain a low level of genetic modification, even though the farmer reportedly did not want to grow such crops, the state Department of Agriculture announced Friday.
The agency said the samples showed a low-level presence of a genetic trait called Round-Up Ready, meaning they are able to tolerate the well-known herbicide. The tests did not reveal the percentage of Round-Up Ready presence in the samples. The testing was ordered after a hay farmer who intended to grow alfalfa that was not genetically modified had his crop rejected by a broker who found evidence of genetically modified pesticide resistance.