For connected articles and a lot more info, please pay a visit to OCA’s Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.
In early July, on the sleepy Friday after Independence Day, the USDA quietly signaled its intention to greenlight a new genetically engineered soybean seed from Dow AgroSciences. The product is developed to produce soy plants that withstand two,four-D, a very toxic herbicide (and, famously, the less toxic component in the notorious Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange).
Readers might keep in mind that throughout an even-sleepier period-the week among Christmas and the New Year-the USDA produced a similar move on Dow’s two,four-D-prepared corn.
If the USDA deregulates the two items-as it has telegraphed its intention to do-Dow will take pleasure in a substantial profit chance. Every year, about half of all US farmland is planted in corn and soy. Presently, Dow’s rival Monsanto has a tight grip on weed management in corn-and-soy country. Upwards of 90 % of soy and 70 % of corn is engineered to withstand one more herbicide known as glyphosate by way of extremely lucrative Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seed lines. And right after so numerous years of lashing so considerably land with the identical herbicide, glyphosate-resistant superweeds are now vexing farmers and “alarming” weed-control authorities all through the midwest.
And that is where Dow’s 2,4-D-prepared corn and soy seeds come in. Dow’s novel goods will be engineered to withstand glyphosate and two,4-D, so farmers can douse their fields with both herbicides the two,four-D will kill the weeds that glyphosate no longer can. That’s the advertising and marketing pitch, anyway.
The USDA, for its portion, is purchasing what Dow is selling. In May possibly, the agency released its Draft Environmental Assessment for the product, declaring that its “preferred option” was to deregulate it. And on July 13, USDA place out its “Plant Pest Threat Assessment” for it. This is a important document in the regulatory process for GMOs. Under the sector-friendly framework for GMO oversight cobbled with each other in the early ’90s by then-Vice President Dan Quayle, the USDA can only regulate genetically modified organisms if they literally pose a risk to other plants as defined by the Federal Plant Pest Act. This is a extremely high bar and as occurs with almost all GMO applications, the USDA’s assessment of Dow’s novel soy concluded that it’s “very unlikely to pose a plant pest risk.”