|It looks like food, but is it? If some large corporations get their way, it may end up on your dinner table whether you want it or not.|
|(cc) Peter Blanchard|
Are you eating genetically modified food? Do you want to? Do you have the right to decide? A bill heading to the U.S. House of Representatives could make it harder for Americans (and eventually the rest of the world) to make informed choices about the food they eat.
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and a group of 40 food businesses and retailers, and farm, food safety, environmental, and consumer advocacy groups today delivered a letter to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture warning of the long-term, dangerous, and potentially debilitating effects that chemical industry-promoting provisions in the House draft Farm Bill will have on farmers, the environment, public health, and the U.S. economy. Far from modernizing the regulatory environment and advancing the health of U.S. agriculture, the buried suite of backdoor biotech riders is the latest attempt by the industry to write its own rules governing genetically engineered (GE) crops, strip the review powers of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and control the future health and safety of U.S. agriculture.
The House’s draft Farm Bill is scheduled for Committee mark-up on Wednesday, July 11 at 10am EDT.
“This is yet another chilling example of the chemical industry’s ongoing campaign to irreversibly alter and control our food supply while they pad their pockets,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. “Every member of the Agriculture Committee has something to lose here if they don’t cut through the deception and reject this direct assault on USDA’s authority and the long-term integrity of our food supply.”
Noted impact areas of the proposed chemical industry-promoting Farm Bill provisions include:
Responding to the release of these biotech riders, the National Grain and Feed Association released a statement last week expressing their concern with the premature commercialization of biotech traits and the potential for unintended consequences that these riders may pose for domestic and export markets.
“The House Farm bill currently under consideration would take the USDA’s review process for genetically engineered crops from woefully inadequate to virtually non-existent, making contamination of the food supply or harm to endangered or threatened species almost certain,” said Sarah Saylor, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice. “Automatic approval of genetically altered crops is particularly alarming.”
Signed by the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, National Family Farm Coalition, Organic Trade Association, Sierra Club, and several other organizations, the letter was sent to Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN). The letter can be found on the Center for Food Safety web site.