Just when you thought that GMOs, as we know them today, were bad enough, get ready for something potentially worse to deal with.
In a recent New York Times article, it was reported that biotech companies have discovered and exploited a loophole in government regulation that allows them to create a different breed of GMOs and market them to the public without needing approval from the USDA.
They are doing this by inserting genetic material from a plant, instead of genetic material from a plant pest (GMOs are often inserted via a bacterium, which contains a genetic “on” switch from a plant virus). So, if it is material from a plant but not a plant pest, companies can circumvent the laws and avoid regulation, something which the USDA has confirmed.
As a result, there are several new crops using this methodology that are now in development and can go directly to market.
– A new herbicide-resistant canola
– A corn that would create less pollution from livestock waste
– Switch grass tailored for biofuel production
– An ornamental plant that glows in the dark.
Another example of this was something that I shared on Facebook the other day – a genetically-engineered grass by Scotts that does not need USDA approval.
While the EPA and FDA could potentially intervene and require this method to come under government regulation, don’t hold your breath. After all, the EPA just approved new GM-corn and soy crops resistant to the super-toxic 2,4-D.
The bottom line is that this new methodology is still genetic engineering and must be regulated by our government. Let’s hope Congress gets involved and does its best to make sure regulations keep pace with technology.
The potential environmental and health risks are too great to ignore.