New rules put agriculture and the public at risk

[This action alert is over.]

The USDA has recently proposed a set of rules that would allow chemical companies such as Dow and Bayer/Monsanto to determine the safety of their own products. The proposed rules, now open for public comment, would further deregulate an untrustworthy industry.

Source: Flickr, UGA CAES/Extension

If the rules are enacted, manufacturers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will decide for themselves whether or not to report experimental testing of their genetically engineered (GE) crops to the USDA. This move will sanction a glaring conflict of interest and allow GMOs to go directly from the lab to the market for consumption.

Chemical companies have repeatedly attempted to bury evidence of harm caused by their products, including Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate. GE crops cannot be contained and often cross-pollinate organic crops and wild species. When organic crops are contaminated, organic farmers must dump their harvest into far-less-profitable non-organic markets.

Allowing GMO manufacturers to forego evaluation under federal health and environmental laws would encourage the introduction of untested GE crops, increase the likelihood of contamination on organic farms and in the wild, and embolden the reckless use of pesticides which these crops are typically engineered to withstand.

Your public comments matter. Let the USDA know that self-regulation is not regulation at all!

Read the proposed rules and submit your comments (Docket No. APHIS-2018-0034-0037) by 11:59 pm ET on August 6.

When commenting, please use your own words to address the specific issue of chemical companies being given greater control over their own regulation. For more on submitting effective comments, read these tips on

Your comment could address any of these concerns:

  • Deregulation of GMOs will result in even less transparency in the food system and provide organic farmers less information about which GE crops are grown near their fields. This increased risk for GMO contamination of organic crops is borne entirely by organic farmers;
  • The creation of new strains of living organisms, including those genetically engineered to withstand pesticides, should be overseen by regulators for the public good; and
  • Conflicts of interest arise when chemical and bioengineering companies are asked to regulate their own potential money-making activities.

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