OP/ED: US bans Monsanto's round up ready GE alfalfa

Alex Atamanenko
By Alex Atamanenko
June 26th, 2010

New Democrat Agriculture Critic, Alex Atamanenko (BC Southern Interior), says no matter how you choose to spin it, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that Monsanto’s genetically engineered roundup ready alfalfa will remain illegal to sell or plant for quite some time. According to the ruling genetically modified alfalfa cannot be sold until a full and adequate impact assessment, subject to farmer and consumer satisfaction, has been carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  “This process could take years and that’s a major victory for American farmers and can only be regarded as a significant blow to Monsanto,” stated Atamanenko. “I couldn’t be more elated that the highest court in the U.S. has acknowledged that biotech crops do indeed pose an onerous threat to both the environment and to the economic interests of organic and conventional farmers,” stated Atamanenko. “Even better is the court’s recognition that farmers and consumers have a solid right to bring court challenges against the commercialization of biotech crops in the future.”  Atamanenko’s private members bill to rein in the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) seeds was recently passed at second reading in the House of Commons and is in the process of being considered by the Standing Committee on Agriculture. The bill is meant to require an analysis of potential harm to export markets before new genetically engineered seeds are permitted. “The intention behind Bill C-474 is to protect farmers so they don’t have to organize protests and take actions all the way to Supreme Court in order to prevent the introduction and commercialization of GE technologies that may pose a threat to their business,” stated Atamanenko. “Now that the U.S. has set such an important precedent my bill makes even more sense.”  According to Atamanenko, Monsanto has already been given the necessary health and environmental approvals for GE alfalfa in Canada, with only variety registration left to go before it can be commercialized. “Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa is as strongly opposed in Canada as it is in the US,” concluded Atamanenko. “To protect farmers parliament needs to pass Bill C-474 as soon as it can be managed once parliament resumes in the fall.”

Categories: Politics