Farm

Monsanto and the biotech industry received good news this week when Congress approved a resolution bill, which included a provision nicknamed the “Monsanto Protection Act.

The six-month resolution grants manufacturers of genetically modified seeds the approval to plant genetically modified seeds if they haven’t been approved by a court of law. NPR reports the provision “was slipped into the legislation anonymously.”

According to Sustainable Food News, the Senate was not allowed to consider two amendments offered by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), an organic farmer, that would have “removed policy riders that favored the largest seed companies and the largest meatpackers. Tester observed that these policy riders were worth millions of dollars to these companies.”

 Food Democracy Now! said on its website that the decision “strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer and farmer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, citizens and the environment.”

“On the face of it, that sounds pretty bad,” reports NPR. “And when environmental and organic farming groups got wind of it earlier this month, they mounted a campaign urging voters to call and email their senators and voice their outrage over the provision, which they denounced as a “giveaway to genetically engineered seed companies” and even an act of “fascism.””

But, exceptions have been made for the biotech industry in the past as was the case with Monsanto’s GMO sugar beets, which did not receive official deregulation until last year, but were allowed to be planted in mass scale anyway. By the time official deregulation occurred, more than 95 percent of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. were already genetically modified.

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Image:Rodger McCutcheon