Concerns over change of tack by USDA on GM policy

posted in: Syndicated | 1

USDA may ‘deviate’ on GM policy
BY JACQUI FATKA
28 Dec, 2010 08:53 AM via Stock and Land

THE U.S. Department of Agriculture is entering uncharted waters with its proposed conditional deregulation of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa…

After USDA issued its environmental impact statement on Roundup Ready alfalfa, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for producers of GM, non-GM and organic crops to coexist and scheduled a stakeholder meeting for Dec. 20.

After the private meeting conducted by Vilsack and USDA deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan, many industry players left concerned about the direction USDA is taking in implementing a court order while not once mentioning the health or safety aspects of Roundup Ready alfalfa during the more-than-three-hour meeting.

Rosemarie Watkins, director of international policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said there is a “very real concern about where the department may be going with this in regard to coexistence and, perhaps, favoring one method of farming. When you start throwing in all these other things, including consumer preferences, you’re really starting to deviate from what has been the mainstay of our biotech approval policy.”

…more at link

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David Tribe is an applied geneticist, teaching graduate/undergrad courses in food science, food safety, biotechnology and microbiology at the University of Melbourne.