I'm not liking that we're having to fight 4 things in court all at the same time when the court already has said "no" to GMOs. This may backfire and we'll gain some ground because every hearing and lawsuit means incriminating documents are recovered and put into public record! One of our earliest updates shows one of those times- when all the scientists in the FDA said GMOs can't come out and be regulated the way they were planning and that they were ignored (or fired in some cases). The GM fish is another case. Other agencies' advice against it (strong advice) was buried and now its out. Suits are the only way judges get to have a voice- and they are getting testy with the FDA and USDA now!!
But back to the problem. Now we have to sue to get the USDA to follow the law set by the courts. That's a problem because the plants are out-crossing and hybridizing and mixing in the wild. The seeds are sewn by farmers after the USDA allows the planting, defying a court order. Then the plants are "grandfathered in" because it would be a hardship to make farmers pull them out. Or such was the case with alfalfa in 2005-2006 where 200 million acres were sewn and allowed to be grown and sold. That's grass. GMOs are allergens. The pollen blows in wind and is carried worldwide by bees. If the human race becomes allergic to grass, we have a big problem. Ernie lost his hayfever when he stopped eating GMOs. GM corn (a grass) may be perceived as an allergen and our bodies may be generalizing this allergy to all grasses. It does happen with GM soy passing allergy into non-GM soy in populations. If it happens sometimes, and it might happen in other cases, its certainly not okay to plant the crops out in the open air. Maybe we should hold farmers to not buying a product if it might be declared in violation of the law.
Cases: Sugar beet. Here's the story from the Center for Food Safety that sued.
"In 2008, the groups sued USDA for deregulating Monsanto’s genetically modified sugar beets without complying with the National Environmental Policy Act’s requirement of an EIS before deregulating the crop. On August 13, 2010, the federal court banned the crop until USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the GE plant on the environment, farmers and the public in an EIS.
Three weeks later, despite the court’s ruling, and without any prior environmental analysis, USDA issued permits to seed growers to again grow the genetically modified sugar beets. The groups again sued USDA. On November 30, 2010, the court granted the groups’ motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered the seed crop destroyed. That order was stayed pending appeal, which is scheduled for argument on February 15, 2011." Center for Food Safety article
Here is an article "USDA Breaks Law: Allows GM Sugar Beet Planting." on about.com by Jennifer Chait. This is the reputation the USDA is getting- abusing the court system by making us sue just to have the law enforced. And sometimes the Judges get testy when that happens. Judges aren't asked for their opinions until someone challenges something in court. Congresspeople are getting up in arms sometimes too. So do other federal agencies. People are referring to the USDA and FDA as "rogue agencies." This has happened before. If an agency does not function according to its charter, Congress will take it apart. They call it decommissioning or dismantling or reorganizing. People get mad at the entire government when an agency is out of line and eventually it becomes a liability. The Congress already had to order the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into the FDA for not doing a sufficient job. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11102.pdf (this is a summary from the GAO on www.gao.gov) But this isn't something that benefits us regarding non-GMO labeling or FDA accountability on GMOs that I can see. It does however say that maybe we should ask Congress to look into our issue too and ask the GAO to sniff around. Take a look at how the FDA doesn't even claim to be effective. Then, see all their conflicts of interest that play a big part in that. Finally, see what happened with the Department of Commerce in the opening arguments of the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate (USA Vice President) to find out how they said the department website didn't claim to be effective and therefore it had to be dismantled. That is what the FDA website does over and over again between shirking responsibility (which relates to the GAO investigation above) and conflict of interest.
Then we look at alfalfa and its the same story. When you put the Center for Food Safety in court for these and the GM fish and the new ethanol corn, that means we're backlogged, billed a lot of money and tied up. Why do we have to sue? Why aren't USDA and FDA just investigated for illegal actions and called on the carpet with a stay on any GMOs until the cases are resolved including an immediate stop of planting? If it hurts farmers, that's because of the companies they deal with that make dangerous products knowing they aren't following the law. Even if the FDA and USDA let them do this, they know they don't meet environmental or safety standards. Judges keep telling them so. No this is a Congress matter of agencies gone bad that they need to reel in-- and for that to happen we have to scream that. So buyer beware farmers.
Some of the FDA might be salvageable. A start would be to split up food and drug into different agencies- because therein lies the problem. These people seem to think we want drugs in our food and our foods to act as drugs so they are making up scary stuff in labs to replace our food supply- because of the conflict of interest with getting money from biotech, and maybe even because FDA employees can purchase biotech stock. That very argument is one place you can read the FDA say they don't regulate Monsanto for instance. Monsanto has genes that are in up to 80% of our food because almost all of it is Roundup resistant, even if it is from another company, thanks to cross-patenting. So how is this not the FDA's job? If it isn't, we need an agency whose job it is!
So please write your congressman a letter and send it today. www.house.gov and www.senate.gov have boxes at the top to find your legislators. You can send them links from this document after you verify them too. But why not send emails to lots of legislators? We hear that if you can send it by fax (including making your computer fax) there can be a shorter "line" and a big process to make sure its logged and dealt with right. Worth a try.