NCGA Urges Consumers to Tell USDA “No” To GE Alfalfa

Jan 21, 2010

National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative for 112 natural food co-ops nationwide, opposes the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa and encourages consumers nationwide to tell the USDA they oppose the allowance of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa into the nation’s food supply.

“GE alfalfa stands to compromise the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal through uncontrollable contamination of organic foods, particularly in cross pollination from conventional farms using GE alfalfa onto carefully nurtured organic farmland,” added Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA.“This would cause irreparable harm to the organic seal and reduce consumers' ability to make informed purchase decisions. Fortunately, consumers have an opportunity to voice their opinions and tell the USDA that GE alfalfa is unacceptable in organic products.”

On Dec. 14, 2009, the USDA released its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa. TheEIS was produced by the USDA in response to a court decision demanding more thorough analysis of the potential environmental, economic and health impacts of GE alfalfa before approving deregulation. This is the first time the USDA has ever completed an EIS on a GE crop.

However, the resulting EIS lacks true scrutiny and concern regarding the possible contamination of the organic food industry and fails to fully consider the full range of potential impacts on small farmers, organic consumers and human and environmental health.

NCGA urges consumers to speak out during the 60-day comment period open until Feb. 16. “We strongly encourage consumers to voice their opinions to theUSDA to underscore their opposition to this deregulation, in protection of farmers, the USDA Organic Seal, the land and their own food choices,” Shrader concluded. After the comment period, the USDA will vote for full or partial approval of GE alfalfa. A full approval would allow GE alfalfa to be grown and sold without restriction. A partial approval means GE alfalfa could only be grown under permit from the USDA, as is currently allowed.

Consumers can comment directly to the USDA through the two methods below or through the Center for Food Safety's online campaign.

Consumers can mail two copies of their comments to arrive no later than Feb. 16 to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044, Regulatory Analysis and Development,PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Submitters should state comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044.

Individuals may also submit comments online.