USDA Plans to Outsource Biotech Studies
Under the agency's new two-year pilot project, biotech developers would conduct their own environmental assessment of transgenic crops or pay contractors to perform the analysis.
Currently, officials at USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are responsible for the studies.
Federal environmental law requires the agency to complete such reviews before deregulating biotech crops.
Who needs the federal agency responsible for ensuring food safety for Americans? In our brave new world we rely on the "invisible hand" of the market place to regulate itself! So it's only natural that Vilsack would approve a program allowing companies like Monsanto to review itself. I'm sure Monsanto will do the environmental assessments and find that "Oh My Gosh!", GMO's are perfectly safe!
Wolf. Meet henhouse. Hens? You're toast. God bless 'Murca.
The approach has met with support from the biotech industry, which wants to reduce delays in the approval of transgenic crops.
Ahh, yes. "Delays" in the approval process. Translation: Stop regulating us and let us shove these products down people's throats. We'll worry about the consequences later.
Sound familiar? Where have we seen this before? A federal agency allowing an industry to police itself to avoid "delays" and when the inevitable happened we ALL have to deal with the consequences? Hmmmm....Oh yeah. BP.
Critics of genetic engineering, on the other hand, worry the program will result in biased and inaccurate environmental reviews.
Yeah but critics are leftwing hippies who hate food. And why would anyone think Monsanto would produce environmental reports favorable to the products they sell? That's just crazytalk.
More good news from the article: Karen Batra of the Biotechnology Industry Organization says that since the USDA has lost lawsuits to opponents of GMOs this process will help the USDA start winning those lawsuits instead. Translation: "USDA works for the Biotech industry. And in order for the Biotech industry to win in court (AND by default, the marketplace), USDA needs to start winning in court."
And now, instead of quality in our environmental assessments, we're seeking quantity. Because, you know, GMOs are safe. And so we need to rush headlong into fast-tracking these frankenfoods and what better way than to let the companies who create these lab foods police themselves? What could go wrong?
Add this to the controversy earlier this year where US judge Jeffrey White ruled 258 acres of GMO sugarbeets destroyed because of the overwhelming evidence that risk of gene pollution of non-GMO sugarbeets in the Willamette Valley of Oregon was too great.
SO what did the USDA do in response to this court loss?
But it seems there was little victory to enjoy because according to Minnesota Public Radio, the USDA most recently announced that farmers will be allowed to grow genetically modified sugar beets this season, "while it finishes work on a full environmental impact statement on the beets' effect on other crops and the environment."
Wait. You just told the Biotech industry to go ahead and plant the GMO sugarbeets anyway while you work on regulations that will eventually allow them to do it even though the court ruled they can't?
Then there's the GMO Alfafa fiasco, again approving a GMO crop we know will pollute the non-GMO alfalfa gene pool with no regulation whatsoever of this lab product.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that he would authorize the unrestricted commercial cultivation of genetically modified alfalfa, setting aside a controversial compromise that had generated stiff opposition.
Oh garsh. Stiff opposition from Monsanto? We can't have that.
There's the Shirley Sherrod fiasco.
Sherrod claimed the White House forced her to resign but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told CNN that he "didn't speak to anyone at the White House. ... I made this decision; it's my decision. Nobody from the White House contacted me about this at all."
And what a terrible decision that was Tom. Hmmm. Methinks your record of decision making is...uh...not so great.
And now, by creating this new program allowing the Biotech Industry to write its own environmental assessments of its products, is there any wonder why the Biotech Industry Organization named Tom Vilsack Governor of the Year in 2001?
The revolving door in Washington DC is working as fine as it ever did. This shit used to piss me off during the Bush administration.