USDA doesn’t care about GMO contamination of alfalfa

USDA doesn’t care about GMO contamination of alfalfa


Is this normal hay or a freak Monsanto strain? The lines have getting blurry, and the government doesn’t care.

The federal government has refused to take any action in response to a Monsanto variety of alfalfa ending up in a Washington farmer’s supposedly GMO-free crop.

The farmer’s harvest was rejected for export because tests showed it was tainted with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture just considers contamination like that to be the new normal. From Reuters:

Crop experts have warned that the confirmation of contamination threatens U.S. sales of alfalfa feedstock to many Asia nations who reject GMOs, and some are encouraging farmers to test every bag of seed they buy before they plant.

But USDA said the detection of Monsanto Co’s patented Roundup Ready herbicide-tolerant trait in the Washington farmer’s non-GMO alfalfa crop should be addressed by the marketplace and not the government.

“The agriculture industry has approaches to minimize their occurrence and manage them when they occur,” the [USDA] statement said.

Washington agriculture officials also don’t see what the big deal is. They tested the farmer’s fodder and told the feds it contained a “low-level” presence of a genetically engineered trait, but said it was “within ranges acceptable to much of the marketplace.”

USDA will not take action in case of GMO alfalfa contamination, Reuters

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:

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USDA doesn’t care about GMO contamination of alfalfa

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