Ethan A. Huff
August 17, 2011
The continual onslaught of new genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) is a major environmental and human health concern, as not a single approved GMO currently in use has ever been proven, without a doubt, to be safe — and none of the newest GMOs have been proven safe, either.
But what few people realize is that federal law governing GMOs is so minimal and vague that biotechnology and chemical companies are literally declaring that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has no legal right to regulate their products, and the agency is complying.
The recent “approval” of genetically-engineered (GE) Kentucky bluegrass, for instance, was not really an approval at all, at least not in the way most people think it was.
The USDA’s decision in the matter was made by The Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company, which is responsible for “frankengrass.”
The imitation turf is not included under the USDA regulatory umbrella. In other words, the USDA agreed that GMO grass is not within its regulatory jurisdiction.
Just before the busy and distracting Independence Day weekend in the US, the USDA made its announcement about Roundup Ready GM Kentucky bluegrass, declaring that it does not fall under the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) biotechnology authority for regulation.
This is a key statement that many in the natural health and living community recognize as opening wide the floodgates for the unregulated introduction of any and all that come down the pipeline in the future.
The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) has stated that the USDA’s stated hands-off approach to GMOs is sobering, because it signifies the agency’s intention to avoid any further involvement in the regulation of GMOs.
And the agency’s stated reasons for this are based on claims that current federal law does not permit the agency to be involved in this process unless a proposed GMO threatens to become a “plant pest” or a “noxious weed,” two classifications that the agency has determined to not apply to GM Kentucky bluegrass.
The Plant Pest Act, which is a piece of legislation introduced in 1957 to protect US agriculture against damaging, outlines the extent of these two provisions. GMOs that incorporate DNA material from harmful organisms technically fall under the “plant pest” category because they contain components of pests that are deemed harmful to plants, which has given the USDA limited authority to regulate them.
But the “noxious weed” category is more ambiguous in that its definition can be either very broadly or very narrowly defined, depending on the USDA’s preference in handling the matter. And the agency appears to have exempted most or all GMOs from this category, having decided with GM bluegrass that it does not have the potential for becoming a “noxious weed,” which concurs with the petitions filed by Scott’s Miracle-Gro.
GMOs are covered by Plant Pest Act, USDA simply distorting law to shield frankencrops from regulation
Despite claims made by the USDA that GM Kentucky bluegrass is exempt from federal law because it allegedly does not have the potential to “cause significant enough impact to warrant regulation,” ANH believes otherwise. Because GM grass will be planted in parks, greenbelts, sports fields, and lawns, it will, in fact, have a widespread presence that threatens to contaminate the environment, including food crops, with GMOs.
Because it is already known that pollen and other materials from GMOs easily spreads to nearby fields and other areas, the USDA’s claim that there is no threat posed by GM Kentucky bluegrass is a flat-out lie. Grass, in general, is also capable of spreading its own seed and becoming unmanageable, which renders it having the potential to become a “noxious weed” as well.
The USDA is trying to deny these crucial facts, but the world is watching as it essentially hands over the whole of US agriculture to biotechnology and chemical companies. And efforts to correct the USDA’s surrender to these powerful industries are underway, as groups like ANH are continuing to combat the apparent deregulation of GMOs.
NaturalNews recently announced a boycott of The Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company that we hope will hit the company where it counts — in their pocketbook. This is not the final answer to the GMO problem, of course, but it will help increase awareness about GMOs, and spur momentum to get them better regulated and potentially even eliminated:
You can also directly contact the USDA’s Biotechnology Regulatory Services division yourself to express outrage over its deregulation of GM Kentucky bluegrass by:
Michael Gregoire, USDA APHIS Deputy Administrator
USDA APHIS BRS
4700 River Road, Unit 147
Riverdale, MD 20737
Sources for this story include:
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