USDA’s (New & Improved) Speedy Rubber-Stamp

Well, so long as the USDA is acting in a completely neutral and non-corporate influenced manner and not showing any favoritism towards GMO producers over we the consumers, I guess this is all good…right??  Besides, it’s not like shortening the length of time the public has to object to GMO foods will make a difference when the Secretary of Agriculture, (re: Monsanto mouthpiece) Vilsack has already proven that public opinion doesn’t matter a whit when it comes to decisions made.

(ANH-USA) In an attempt to cut already too rapid approval times for genetically engineered seeds in half, the US Department of Agriculture will, under forthcoming rules (expected in March), give GE seed companies—including the Monsanto Company— faster regulatory reviews.

USDA now says it plans to invite public comments as soon as seed developers file a complete petition for deregulation rather than waiting until the end of the review process. However, faster rulings will almost certainly mean that public comments will get short shrift. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, will get to address the public’s concerns (that is, argue against them) earlier in the process, and GE crops reviews will get rubber stamped even faster than the current average of about three years.

This is precisely what the GMO industry wants. If they can get the approval time reduced, they can sidestep opposition and start getting sales that much faster…

- Related Information - 

(USDAWatch) As Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack was a leading advocate for Monsanto, genetic engineering, and factory farming. President Obama proudly lauded his new Agriculture Secretary for “promoting biotech.”

Vilsack has, in fact, promoted the most controversial and dangerous forms of agricultural biotechnology, including pharma crops, plants genetically engineered to produce pharmaceuticals. When grown outdoors on farmland, where most pharma crop trials have occurred, pharma crops can easily contaminate conventional and organic varieties.

In one chilling example from 2002, a corn crop engineered by ProdiGene to produce a vaccine for pigs contaminated 500,000 bushels of soybeans that were grown in the Nebraska field the next season. Before this incident, a similar thing had happened in Iowa where the USDA ordered ProdiGene to pay for the burning of 155 acres of conventional corn that may have been contaminated by the firm’s biotech plants.

ProdiGene eventually went out of business, but not before it received a $6 million investment from the Governors Biotechnology Partnership, chaired by Iowa Governor Vilsack. Vilsack didn’t want any restrictions placed on experimental pharma crops. In reaction to suggestions that pharma crops should be kept away from food crops, Vilsack argued that “we should not overreact and hamstring this industry.”

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