Do you buy organic dairy to avoid exposure to pesticide residues in milk, ice cream, butter and cheese?
If so, you may want to pay attention to a fight that’s brewing between the food safety groups, and organic dairy producers and the federal government.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved unrestricted planting of a type of genetically modified alfalfa grass engineered by the Monsanto Corporation.
Now opponents are suing in court—for a second time after the losing the first time around—trying to block the use of genetically alfalfa.
Why might you worry? You don’t eat grass!
Well, sweet alfalfa is an important; some might say the most important grass that US cows eat. And the reason that the alfalfa is being genetically altered by Monsanto is so that it won’t die when massive amounts of weed killers are sprayed on it, in particular Monsanto’s herbicide called Roundup®.
Weed killers make it easier for large industrial farmers, but the poisons that are supposed to get in the weeds also get into the groundwater and on the alfalfa, and then into the cow, and then into us.
Exposure to synthetic chemical weed killers is linked to a wide variety of maladies, and Roundup® has been linked by some researchers to cancer.
And since alfalfa readily cross pollinates in a wide area, opponents say once this genetically modified alfalfa gets into the environment, there is no way to keep it from mixing with natural alfalfa.
Thus the decision to allow the use of genetically altered alfalfa could spell the end of organic dairy products, ranging from milk to ice cream, butter and yogurt, as organic products aren’t allowed to contain genetically engineered products.
According to opponents the widespread use of genetically modified alfalfa would lead to the release of an estimated 23 million toxic chemicals into the environment.
But Monsanto says its critics are overstating the case against genetically modified alfalfa.
“Despite dramatic claims, Roundup Ready® alfalfa can be grown with organic and conventional alfalfa without impacting them," says Monsanto. "Pollen flow (or drift) in alfalfa and hay production is well-understood and has been researched by public and private institutions for more than 25 years. ”
To see details of the lawsuit filed against the US Dept of Agriculture on March 18, 2011 by opponents to genetically modified alfalfa, go to: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/2011/03/18/farmers-and-consumer-groups-file-lawsuit-challenging-genetically-engineered-alfalfa-approval/
Monsanto’s comments on the issue can be found here:
The Organic Consumers Association citations about research linking Roundup® with cancer can be found here: