Organic growers and consumers have become increasingly divided as the USDA moves forward in deregulating genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa. Some refuse to consider GE alfalfa as an option, while others are moving toward a position of coexistence.
Below are statements from various sides of the argument.
From the Organic Consumers Association:
“The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must.” – Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011
In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.
From the Cornucopia Institute:
The following is what we have said in response to many e-mail inquiries and questions we have received from Cornucopia members, food cooperatives and others in the organic community:
The three companies in question decided to split with most of the organizations in the organic community, like Cornucopia, that recommended not approving genetically engineered alfalfa for release.
They favored a compromise that would have attempted to protect organic farmers through new regulations allowing for “coexistence.” We unfortunately feel, along with our scientific advisers, alfalfa seed producers and farmers, that coexistence is impossible and we would’ve ended up with widespread genetic contamination.
From Stonyfield Farm:
On Thursday the USDA announced a policy that supports the interests of Monsanto and big biotech and deals a major blow to organic farming. They decided to “deregulate” genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, meaning to allow its unrestricted use. In the months leading up to this decision, a coalition of us has been working ceaselessly to fight for any and all alternatives. I’ve personally spent days, nights, weekends and vacations as we worked right though the holidays along with our colleagues to try to prevent this chemical giant from steamrolling over farmers, consumers and organic foods supporters. So, it is particularly sad for me to report to you that in this latest round, which is surely just one chapter, they won and we lost.