Last month the USDA deregulated Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa for unrestricted planting this spring (2011) in spite of protests and outrage from citizens and health groups. Genetic material from viruses and bacteria have been inserted that allows the crops to survive applications of normally deadly Roundup. Roundup-Ready (GE) Alfalfa will soon introduce the toxic herbicide Roundup herbicide (Glyphosate) around the world.
Genetically Engineered or Genetically Modified (GE or GM) or Roundup Ready alfalfa will reach everyone’s dinner plate. You may not eat alfalfa but it is a primary food source for dairy cows and beef cattle, pork, lamb and sheep. The pollination process by insects will spread the pollen and alter the genetic makeup of all alfalfa plants.
Unless something is done to add restrictions on the seed, more than 21 million acres of alfalfa, the fourth largest crop in America, is due to be planted in the U.S. in several weeks. Right now, over 90% of alfalfa hay planted in the U.S. does not use any herbicides. The GE alfalfa will follow other modified crops: soybeans, corn and cotton, sugar beets and Canola.
The alfalfa is not only used as food, it is used as a soil amendment and will stay in the soil. The effects on our soil, plants, animals, and the human population was circulated among master gardeners today, which details the over 40 plant diseases that Roundup causes. If you would like to read this article, click HERE. If you want to join the voices who are protesting this latest development, send an email letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to urge him to fully investigate the damage from Roundup.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester