Explore Coverage

Living Maxwell


BREAKING NEWS: USDA Approves GE-Alfalfa, Decision Will Destroy the Organic Dairy and Meat Industries

When I tell people that President Obama and his team are adamantly against organic food, I always get a quizzical look.

Or, they give me a “really?  He is? I never knew that.”

Well, today’s ruling by the USDA is just another example of how this administration wants to do everything it can to placate Monsanto while simultaneously eliminating organics.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack (pictured) announced this afternoon that genetically-engineered alfalfa could be sold and grown without any type of restriction.

In a previous post, I went into the details of how this will destroy the organic dairy industry. It will also kill the organic meat industry. Cows and cattle eat organic alfalfa.

If you have little kids or are planning on having them, finding affordable organic milk in the coming years will be very difficult, if not impossible. Same with organic meat for meat eaters.

Why is this ruling not a surprise?

Secretary Vilsack was named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Association and flew on Monsanto’s private jet when he was campaigning for governor. Monsanto is based in the Midwest and Obama cannot alienate a big corporate backer/supporter in his part of the country. Monsanto is a very, very, very powerful corporation that spends HUGE money lobbying in Washington.

And despite the hundreds of thousands of e-mail protests against this, we didn’t stand a chance.

In its decision, the USDA completely ignored:

– The desires of consumers who want the healthiest food available – organic food

– The implications for organic, family and conventional (non-GMO) farmers. Many of these farmers will be out of business soon.

– The scientific reality that super-weeds are becoming a real problem, which are caused by GMOs.

– The environmental impact of the tens of millions more pounds of pesticides that will be sprayed onto our farmland because of the approval of GE-alfalfa. This means more soil gets destroyed and more water gets polluted.

I couldn’t agree more with Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety, when he said that the “USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.”

It is becoming painfully clear that we are living in a country that does not want to allow its people to eat the most healthy, nutritious food possible — organic food.

Our government wants us to eat food that is sprayed with toxic chemicals and filled with synthetic growth hormones. In the process, it will make GMO-seed companies, such as Monsanto, very rich at the expense of the health of U.S. citizens.

So, what’s next? There will be immediate legal challenges to the USDA’s decision and hopefully we can get an immediate injunction or reversal at some future date. If not, the future of organics in the U.S. is going to look incredibly grim.

Two Other Important Factors to Consider:

1) This GE-alfalfa policy will become the standard for other crops where deregulation is being considered.

2) The ruling is sure to encourage the FDA to soon approve genetically-engineered salmon.

If you are an organic food lover, today is both a sad day and an important reminder that the people running our country truly do not care about our health.

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink