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Common Dreams

USDA Fast-Tracks 'Rubber-Stamp' Approval of 'Dangerous' GE Seeds

Watchdog: 'It's clear that these federal agencies are working on behalf of corporate agribusiness, not US taxpayers and consumers.'

by
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

The USDA 'rubber-stamped' the first of many 'dangerous' new genetically engineered (GE) seeds Friday under the department's new streamlined approval process.

The fast-track process allows the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to "make a determination of nonregulated status for crops with GE traits that have already been approved in another crop" without a new review, allowing for a more "timely and predictable review process," according to Mike Firko, APHIS Acting Deputy Administrator for biotechnology regulatory services.

"As expected, the fast-track approval process has made it all that much easier for the USDA to rubber-stamp a host of new GE crops," Katherine Paul, Associate Director of the Organic Consumers Association, told Common Dreams.

The first products to come down the speedy new pipeline are a host of canola seeds resistant to the "dangerous" herbicide glyphosate, which a recent study linked to a litany of health disorders and diseases including Parkinson’s, cancer and autism.

Already approved is a glyphosate-resistant canola from Pioneer, with other pending petitions for deregulation including Monsanto's glyphosate-resistant canola and hybridization system corn, as well as Genective's glyphosate-resistant corn.

"For years, scientists have warned about the hazards of glyphosate," continued Paul, who noted that the EPA recently raised the allowable limit of glyphosate residue on fruits and vegetables.

"But with the stranglehold that agribusiness has on the FDA [...] and the USDA, consumers are being exposed to greater and greater amounts of glyphosate on food, and in our groundwater."

"It's clear that these federal agencies are working on behalf of corporate agribusiness, not US taxpayers and consumers," she added.

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