This is the first of two issues that have been weighing on me. I am compelled to share with you the following excerpt from an email newsletter I received recently from
http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/about/ on one of the issues. I have followed Food Democracy Now's efforts for years and agree with their approach to changing the current situation. You may want to subscribe to their free email newsletter. I'm glad I did. It's an excellent way to stay informed.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
That excerpt follows:
"On January 17, 2011, Dr. Don Huber, an internationally-recognized plant pathologist and Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, sent a private letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warning him of a serious problem facing U.S. agriculture. This letter, marked “CONFIDENTIAL and URGENT”, warned Secretary Vilsack of a previously unknown pathogen, “new to science” that “should be treated as an emergency”. 1
Huber’s letter discussed the new pathogen in the most dire terms, saying that the findings of this team of top scientists had already discovered a link between the new pathogen and the steady rise of plant diseases in Roundup Ready corn and soybean crops and in association with high rates of infertility and spontaneous abortion rates of 45% of cattle and dairy herds consuming feed that had been treated with the number one selling weed killer Roundup.2
Huber warned Secretary Vilsack that the discovery of the new pathogen was “highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of U.S. soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies.”
On Feb 4th we saw Dr. Huber speak to a room of 200 commodity corn and soybean farmers in Des Moines, Iowa about the problems of Roundup that they were seeing in their fields. When the letter leaked on the internet, we decided to investigate and Dr. Huber agreed to go on camera to let the American people know about this real threat to our food supply.
Watch Dr. Huber explain the science and find out why he was so concerned about the approval of GMO alfalfa:
In the letter, Huber requested assistance from the USDA and other federal agencies to help complete these scientific findings and urged Secretary Vilsack to delay the approval of any more genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops. The USDA chose to ignore this warning, and less than three weeks later, approved two new GMO crops, including Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa (the primary grazing feed for US meat and dairy cows) and sugar beets.4
Earlier this spring, Food Democracy Now! caught up with Dr. Huber to investigate these new findings and uncover the latest science behind this threat to our food supply. We were greatly alarmed by what we learned and appreciated Dr. Huber’s courage in coming forward to warn the Obama administration about this credible and serious threat to the livelihoods of farmers, animal livestock and our global food supply.
It’s planting season now. If these new Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa seeds go in the ground, there will be little hope of preventing contamination of all alfalfa, as scientists and experts have warned. This puts the number one forage crop at risk, placing the majority of America’s food supply, livestock, and ultimately our families' health at risk.
We have drafted a letter to President Obama and Sec. Vilsack asking them to suspend the sale and planting of Monstanto’s Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa and sugar beet seeds until further research can be done. Will you sign on?
Sign the letter:
If we can get 50,000 co-signers, we’ll fly out to DC ourselves and deliver the letter. We’ll show Secretary Vilsack photos of affected plants and livestock, and ask him directly how he can justify letting planting go ahead while these serious questions are unanswered.
This immediate crisis around Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa and sugar beet seeds, while alarming, is an opportunity for us, working together, to hold the Obama Administration accountable for not putting the safety of America’s farms and families ahead of Monsanto’s corporate interest. This can be an important step toward the long-term goal of reforming US agriculture policy so it favors building a sustainable food system that protects our natural environment, sustains farmers and nourishes families.
We are committed to this fight now, more than ever - please join us. Together, our voices will create the future we need.
Thank you for participating in food democracy-
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team
1."Senior Plant Pathologist Warns Secretary Vilsack of Discovery of New Organism, Threat to U.S. Agriculture", Food Democracy Now! February 27, 2011.
2. "Monsanto - Statement About Alleged Plant Pathogen Potentially Associated with Roundup Ready Crops", Monsanto, February 22, 2011.
3."Scientist Warns of Safety of Monsanto's Roundup", Reuters, February 24, 2011.
4. "U.S. Approves Genetically Modified Alfalfa", New York Times, January 27, 2011.