USDA: organic consumers don't care

Sound Consumer | February 2010

by Trudy Bialic, Editor

(February 2010) — If ever there was a time for you as an organic consumer to stand up and be counted, it is now. I've never issued such a strong call to action in these pages in all my 10 years as editor. But we are at a pivotal moment in the organic movement.

Everyone who cares about organic farmers and organic food needs to speak up, before March 3, loud and clear.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in an environmental impact statement on genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, declares there is no evidence that organic consumers care about GE contamination. The USDA also admitted that an economic analysis shows GE alfalfa will hurt the organic industry and small farmers — but it fails to analyze or suggest any possible protections for organic.

Alfalfa isn't a crop that people eat directly, but if you eat yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream or beef — and if you believe that "we are what they (cows) eat" — then it's critically important.

The GE alfalfa that USDA is planning to approve is Roundup Ready alfalfa, meaning it's genetically altered to survive being sprayed with the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate).

Studies have shown a clear link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkins lymphoma (Journal of the American Cancer Society), and have found that glyphosate damages and kills human cells even at diluted levels far below recommendations (American Chemical Society).

Glyphosate/Roundup also is used on GE soybeans and GE corn, so the USDA's remark — that it has no evidence organic consumers care about GE contamination — involves more than just Roundup Ready alfalfa.

More about: GE alfalfa, GE corn, GE foods, GE soy, organic food, organic products, USDA

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