July 20, 2018

USDA Takes Last Step in Approving Herbicide Tolerant Crops

The United States Department of Agriculture this week announced the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for corn and soybean plants resistant to 2,4-D. And Food & Water Watch said, “history will repeat itself.”

Farm FieldDow’s corn and soybean plants, known as “Enlist” varieties, are genetically engineered to be resistant to two herbicides: 2,4-D, an ingredient in Agent Orange, and glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Environmental and food safety advocates are alarmed at the huge increase in pesticide use that accompanied the approval and planting of other Roundup Ready crops.

The draft version of the environmental impact statement released in January 2014 by the government is the same as the new analysis. The agency did not address the risks Food & Water Watch flagged, especially the increased use of 2,4-D on superweeds that will most likely become resistant to that herbicide.

The comments on the draft EIS overwhelmingly called for the government to deny approval of these GMO crops. More than 9,000 of the 10,000 comments opposed these crops, and there were more than 600,000 signatures on petitions from many consumer and health organizations.

These crops will most likely be approved in the next few months. Many opposed to them, including Food & Water Watch, say that this will lead to an increase in herbicide use and the development of more weeds resistant to those chemicals. Weed resistance continues to increase against the herbicide Roundup and there is every reason to believe the same will occur with 2,4-D.

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