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GM alfalfa

GM alfalfa cannot be contained, will spread everywhere, say experts

Thursday, February 17, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: GM alfalfa, contamination, health news

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(NaturalNews) Ever since Obama-appointed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) head Tom Vilsack deregulated Monsanto's genetically-modified (GM) alfalfa, there has been a firestorm of controversy over the long-term negative consequences of this thoughtless decision. Various experts in the field of agriculture have since come forth and declared that, despite rhetoric to the contrary, it will be impossible to contain GM alfalfa and prevent it from eventually contaminating the entire food chain.

Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in the U.S., behind corn, soybeans, and cotton. It currently grows cultivated on 22 million U.S. acres, and grows on many more acres of yards, roadside ditches, pastures, and other areas in wild form. And particularly in organic agriculture, alfalfa is a primary feed item for organically-raised animals because it is abundant and requires no pesticide or herbicide applications.

"Alfalfa is a feed staple for all organic livestock, and the most common legume in organic crop rotations in northern states," said Jim Riddle, organic outreach coordinator at the University of Minnesota.

But the primary difference between alfalfa and corn, soy, and cotton -- the top three major crops that are primarily GM -- is that alfalfa is pollinated by bees and it is a perennial crop. So cross-pollination is a given, as bees are sure to spread GM materials that they consume in GM alfalfa, to other non-GM and organic crops. And if bees begin to cross-pollinate GM alfalfa with organic and wild alfalfa, there literally will be no stopping the spread of GM alfalfa.

"GM alfalfa will be everywhere," said Dag Falck, organic program manager at Nature's Path Foods.

Even with five-mile buffers between GM alfalfa and non-GM alfalfa -- a proposition made in the USDA's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was ultimately rejected by the Obama administration -- GM materials will still spread into the wild and into the organic and non-GM food supply, say experts.

Then there are the major issues of weed resistance, superweeds, chemical pesticide dependency, and the contamination of the honey supply via bees that convert GM alfalfa pollen into honey.

Sources for this story include:


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