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***USA - ACTION ALERT***

ACTION ALERT ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED ALFALFA

Now is your chance to demand that USDA protect food from contamination by genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa! USDA just released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on GE alfalfa and comments are due February 16, 2010.--EXTENDED TO MARCH 3, 11:59pm Eastern

TELL USDA NOT TO APPROVE MONSANTO'S GE ALFALFA

In the EIS, USDA claims that there is no evidence that consumers care about GE contamination of organic alfalfa. But while consumers might not eat alfalfa directly, alfalfa is a major feed for cows and other livestock. There have been no studies showing that GE alfalfa is safe for feeding to livestock or what effect feeding GE-alfalfa has on the meat or milk from such animals. Because of the risk of contamination of non-GE crops, approval of GE alfalfa could ultimately make it impossible for farmers to find GE-free sources for their livestock. 

Protect your milk and meat by commenting now! Below are some recommended talking points. 

COMMENTS ARE DUE FEBRUARY 16, 2010--NOW DUE MARCH 3

HOW TO SUBMIT COMMENTS

1) Submit comments online through the government website: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480a6b7a1
Click on "submit comment" (look at the upper right-hand corner of the box)

2) You can also submit comments through the Center for Food Safety's website,http://ga3.org/campaign/alfalfaEIS 

3) For written, mailed comments, send two copies to: Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044.

TALKING POINTS

--As a consumer, you do not want to buy GE-alfalfa-derived meat and dairy products. USDA claims that consumers will not be harmed by the approval of GE alfalfa, but has not conducted studies of the effects of feeding GE alfalfa to livestock.

--It is wrong to leave farmers, whether organic or conventional, vulnerable to contamination of their crops. Alfalfa is open-pollinated by bees. With bees traveling 4 to 6 miles, they can potentially spread the patented, foreign DNA to distant conventional and organic crops. The potential for biological contamination from a neighbor's field, even miles away, threatens the livelihood of organic farmers, dairies, and other livestock producers. The farmers may also be subject to harassment by Monsanto if Monsanto's investigators find DNA from GE alfalfa mixed in with the farmer's crops.

--GE alfalfa would be the first perennial crop to be approved for genetic modification and release. GE-contaminated plants could be scattered along the roadsides and in fields, living and producing more GE-contaminated pollen for years.

--Monsanto's business practices do NOT protect farmers from contamination. USDA claims that Monsanto's seed contracts require measures sufficient to prevent GE contamination. But USDA is ignoring the evidence of widespread GE contamination of canola, soy, and corn.

--GE alfalfa would significantly increase pesticide use, harming both human health and the environment. USDA admits (correctly) that introduction of Roundup Ready alfalfa will increase Roundup use. However, USDA's claims that the increase is not significant and that Roundup will replace other, more toxic herbicides are wrong and unsupported by any evidence.

--USDA should NOT approve genetically engineered crops that benefit one large company at the expense of family farms. USDA concludes that GE alfalfa will cause production to shift to larger farms (that can afford built-in isolation distances) and conventional growers who are not threatened by GE contamination, but that these economic shifts are not significant. This is a continuation of the "get big or get out" policy that has caused myriad problems over the last several decades, and it needs to stop!

MORE INFORMATION

Check out the Center for Food Safety's fact sheet on GE alfalfa here:  http://www.nationalorganiccoalition.org/CFSGEalfalfatalkingptfinal.pdf

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