USDA Hits Pause on New Genetically Engineered Crops

Due to a loud public outcry from hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to conduct a more thorough investigation of genetically engineered crops before allowing them on market.

| June 11, 2013

Reposted with permission from Pesticide Action Network.

In a welcome turn, USDA announced last week that it will take a closer look at new genetically engineered (GE) crops before allowing them on the market. The approval of Dow's 2,4-D-resistant corn and soy, as well as Monsanto's dicamba-resistant soy and cotton, will be put on hold until Environmental Impact Statements are completed.

The decision to conduct a more thorough investigation comes after public outcry from hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals — including farmers. Because if approved, these GE crops will drive a dramatic increase in pesticide use, placing the burden of both increased costs and health risks on farmers and rural communities.

As we've noted before, allowing Dow and Monsanto's new herbicide-resistant products on the market is a bad idea. Scientists warn that widespread planting of 2,4-D corn alone would trigger as much as a 30-fold increase in the herbicide's use by the end of the decade. That pattern would hold true for 2,4-D soy and Monsanto's dicamba-resistant crops as well.

At this point, the earliest these seeds could be available is 2015.

High Stakes for Farmers and Communities

Since both 2,4-D and dicamba are known to drift — directly and through volatilization — increased use poses a very real threat to the livelihood of farmers growing crops that are not engineered to withstand application of these potent chemicals. Conventional farmers could lose crops, while organic farmers could lose both crops and certification. This would result in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.

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