GE Deregulation Hearing Comes to Corvallis
The USDA/APHIS is holding a public hearing on deregulating genetically engineered 'Roundup Ready' sugarbeets in Corvallis, OR on November 17th.
The story of GE sugarbeets in recent years is pendulumic. They've been regulated, deregulated, planted, uprooted and destroyed, re-regulated, and re-deregulated (partially). Our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition offered a brief recap of the situation earlier this year, and last month, Beyond Pesticides issued a call to action.
Now, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is vetting its draft environmental impact statement (EIS), something that should've been done long before any of these things ever went into the ground, and GE advocates are pushing for total deregulation. The second of three public hearings on the draft EIS is set to take place in Oregon on Nov. 17th.
So what does it all mean?
Glyphosate tolerant 'Roundup Ready' crops are those that have been genetically engineered to withstand applications of the popular herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). The commercial use of such crops on farms throughout the US has increased glyphosate use by 318.4 million pounds over the last 13 years.1
Such drastic increases in use amount to drastic increases in human health and environmental impacts. Glyphosate is toxic to people and animals, causing genetic damage in humans, fish and frogs. It has also been linked to attention deficit disorder and increased risk of cancer (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). 2
This toxicity concern alone is enough to underscore the the need to proceed with caution when it comes to GE crops. However it is only one of a host of issues surrounding this particular brand of biotechnology. For a sampling of the others, see Organic Seed Alliance's Five Reasons Why GE Sugar Beets Threaten Organic, or the Just Label It Campaign's critical look at the Science and PR surrounding GE commodities, or the Center for Food Safety's GE Crops Resources.
NCAP urges you to submit comments opposing the deregulation of GE sugarbeets. You can do this in person at next week's hearing, or through the online portal at regulations.gov.
GE Sugarbeet hearing
Thursday, November 17
4 pm - 7 pm
LaSells Stewart Center
Construction and Engineering Hall
875 Southwest 26th Street
Corvallis, OR 97331
1. Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use in the United States: The First Thirteen Years; Benbrook, Charles, Ph.D. 2009. pp3.
2. Herbicide Factsheet: Glyphosate. Cox, Caroline. Journal of Pesticide Reform: Vol. 24, No. 4. 2004.