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Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready alfalfa has already cost farmers millions of dollars, and now, a new study by the USDA, the same agency that re-approved it, has found that GE alfalfa has really gone wild, literally.
In a study published in December 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) verified that genetically engineered alfalfa had gone wild in our western states, in a very big way.
The study lends confirmation to and explains the number of transgenic contamination episodes over the past few years that have cost American alfalfa farmers and exporters millions of dollars. More telling is that the study exposes the failure of the USDA’s “coexistence” policy, says EcoWatch.
The USDA’s “Coexistence” fairytale
The USDA has long maintained that genetically engineered crops can coexist with nor-GMO and organic crops. Yet this very issue has been the basis of a number of complaints filed over GE alfalfa contaminating non-GMO fields. The USDA has long maintained that if GMO-farmers and non-GMO farmers “just sorted things out,” using good management practices, transgenes would be confined to GE crops and the fields where they are planted.
In 2013, the federal agency, in keeping with its belief in “coexistence” of these crops, rejected a Washington state farmer’s complaint about his alfalfa being rejected for export because of the presence of the genetically modified trait that made it unacceptable in Asian countries. The USDA said the Washington farmer’s non-GMO alfalfa crop should be addressed by the marketplace and not the government, reported Reuters.
Depending on which side of the fence people tend to lean, anti-GMOers are saying, “See, we told ya so,” and proponents of GMO crops are saying a little transgenetic contamination is to be expected. However, the USDA study found that in sites tested in California, Idaho and Washington state, over one-quarter, 27 percent of them, contained transgenic alfalfa.