The Wheels Come Off the Bus on Genetically Engineered Crops!


GE grass

Despite a lack of independent safety testing, the government has seen fit to declare there will be no oversight of a genetically engineered grass. Is this the beginning of a GE avalanche?

Just before the July 4th weekend, the USDA released a statement saying that the agency has no authority to regulate genetically engineered (GE) Kentucky bluegrass. This leaves Kentucky bluegrass completely unregulated—and sets the precedent for a complete lack of oversight of GE crops in the future. This is extremely worrying: there are very few independent studies investigating the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the ones that have been published show that GMOs can have very dangerous long term effects.

Oversight of GE crops is extremely lax, because there is no federal law specific to their regulation. The USDA only has two provisions that apply to GMOs—the regulation of plant pests, and the noxious weed provision.

The Plant Pest Act—a law established in the 1950s—gives the USDA power to restrict the introduction of organisms that might harm plants. In a bit of a stretch, the USDA has used this power to regulate GE crops. The reasoning is that GE crops qualify as “plant pests” because historically the DNA from natural plant pathogens/microbial material (bacteria, fungi, etc.) was used in the genetic engineering of various plants.

However, this is increasingly no longer the case. Kentucky bluegrass, for example, doesn’t use the DNA from plant pests at all. Accordingly, the makers of Kentucky Bluegrass, Scotts Miracle-Gro, claims the USDA has no authority over them since “Kentucky bluegrass itself is not a plant pest, and no plant pest components will be involved in the transformation.” And on July 1, the USDA agreed, sending the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company official confirmation on Kentucky bluegrass’s regulatory status.

In 2000 the Plant Pest Act was expanded to allow the USDA to also regulate noxious weeds, and became the Plant Protection Act. This is significant, because we believe this provision gives USDA the authority to regulate GE Kentucky bluegrass: any engineered crop that threatens to go rogue in the field and become a hard-to-control weed may be regulated. In this case, pollen is light enough to be carried for miles in the wind, causing gene transfer with non-GE crops; and bluegrass spread rapidly.

However, even though the USDA admitted that GE bluegrass could be considered a noxious weed, the agency declared it still would not “cause impact significant enough to warrant regulation at the federal level”—a position we find both absurd and unconscionable.

We have several major concerns:

  • Kentucky bluegrass is widely grown, and is used in parks and home lawns. This means the genetically engineered variety will have wide exposure indeed.
  • This decision paves the way for any number of GE crops in the future to avoid USDA regulation altogether.
  • If it is determined that a GMO is out of the USDA’s jurisdiction, the courts cannot demand that the USDA conduct full environmental impact studies under the authority of the EPA. This means other safety nets will disappear as well.

Our biggest concern, however, is the potential impact on our health. Since the USDA jurisdiction covers only plant pests and noxious weeds, there are very few studies of actual long-term human health affects of GMOs. In fact, most safety studies on genetically engineered products have been conducted by GE companies themselves! Furthermore, it is difficult to get the actual raw data for independent testing because GE companies usually keep data proprietary and seriously block independent studies.

A documentary series of nine films on GMO by German filmmaker Bertram Verhaag reveals the undemocratic, global conspiracy to push GE interests over those of the consumer. When he learned that only 5% of scientists working in the area of GE are truly independent, Verhaag started work on his most recent film, Scientists Under Attack. It documents two scientists conducting independent research about GE against pressure from industry, the government, and the scientific community.

However, what we do know about the health effects of genetically engineered crops is frightening. In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, retired Purdue University professor Dr. Don Huber wrote that a newly discovered and widespread pathogen is damaging the health of plants, animals, and possibly human beings. Glyphosate (the active ingredient in in Roundup, the herbicide many crops are engineered to be resistant to) may be weakening its plant and animal hosts making it susceptible to this pathogen, which is similar to the way HIV works. The pathogen has been found in high concentrations of the Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn used in livestock feed. Lab tests confirmed presence in the organism of pigs, cattle, and other livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Plants containing the pathogen are stricken with disease.

With the help of Greenpeace, biologists from two French universities obtained a court order to force Monsanto to hand over its findings from animal studies they had used in its assessment that three varieties of GE corn were safe. After analyzing Monsanto’s data themselves, they discovered “statistically significant” evidence that the crops could poison the liver and kidney (the body’s main detoxifying organs). They also found pesticide residues in GE crops and animal feeds that were high above safe levels—which could affect the endocrine system.

Even worse, they found that that Monsanto’s tests were purposely designed to obscure the results. The test involved only 80 rats and 320 control rats, instead of equal numbers of both. And the longest study was just 90 days long—which isn’t enough to show long-term effects. The results were published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences. has called for a boycott of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and all its products. If you wish to participate, please visit the Natural News boycott page to learn more.

  • Susan

    So what can we, as consumers, do?

  • Joseph C Moore, USN Ret

    When are the agencies of the FDA and USDA going to start looking out for the long term health of the citizens instead of the short term health of their accounts provided by the companies that produce these unnatural plants and products?

    • sam

      Why would they care about the public’s general health? They are all about creating disease (of any kind) so that they can then earn money from the pharmaceutical products required to “fix” or “treat” it.
      For them, its all about money, power and control.

  • Katie @ Healthnut Foodie

    Thank you so much for sharing this information! It is crazy how much these companies have already gotten away with! As a woman who struggled with infertility, it breaks my heart to think that, if GMO’s continue to spread, our children and grandchildren will find it almost impossible to conceive naturally. So sad.

  • DH

    We do not accept this…none of us.

  • Wondering Woman

    Seems I have read or heard that part of the new world order plan to reduce the worldwide population by 85 to 90% includes starvation by planned famine. Apparently they have decided to speed up that reduction with GMO foods.

    Reports I have read (but not from Monsanto) said that India outlawed GMO seeds after doing a study on their effects by feeding produce grown from them to rats & mice. All their studies revealed that the ill-fated mice and rats quickly became less active, less interested in sex and soon they produced litters smaller in both number of offspring and in birth weight. All of the above kept increasing until after the 3rd generation from time the study was started, there were no more litters at all. These results would appear to be planned, NOT accidental.

    After reading this report, I wondered if the GMO produce was so toxic, could toxic pollen from those GMO plants be what has been killing off our pollinating friends, THE BEES?

  • Jim Healey

    It is becoming clearer each day that We the People are losing the battle of living by our own Government for the almighty dollar. While we who have a job, go to work every day and night and in between to do our jobs and get paid, while paying in to FICA, and all the other taxes that are deducted from our pay. In the back ground while we are busy at work performing our jobs. Others are out there to destroy our way of living. For all of those that can not find a job, have been on countless interviews along with hundreds of others applying for the same job, those who have given up, those that have just raise their hands and say WTF. It is becoming clearer each day in the US that Our OWN Government has succumbed to nothing more then the almighty dollar from all the lobbyists that have infiltrated our Government, all of the chemical makers, Including Monsanto, GE and others that have poured billions into bank accounts of our Representatives that are TO HAVE OUR INTERESTS AT HEART. After all, isn’t this the REASON WE elect such said people? To REPRESENT US in our communities, in our Counties, in Our STATE, in our NATION?
    What do we get? Zip, nada. What we get people are THOSE IN POWER HAVE BEEN INFILTRATED BY “BIG” Money in their pockets. All Politicians in Washington have been BOUGHT OFF OUR BLOCK.
    None of “them” (Our Current Representatives) REPRESENT US as American Citizens. It is time for a REVOLUTION according to Our VERY OWN CONSTITUTION written by the Fathers who founded the Great Country!!! All those in office today Represent BIG OIL, Lobbyists and anyone else that will fill their bank accounts. Meanwhile they want to reduce our SSI, SS, Medicaid and Medicare and just cast us all aside as rubbish.

    As far as I am concerned, GE and Monsanto are in bed together and since Monsanto has infiltrated the USDA and the FDA, Gee is it any wonder why they are claiming that any GMO is undeclared as being, NOT UNDER MY WATCH…

    If this is not a reason to band together like we did in the 60’s, what is?

    Did you all forget your roots?

    Did you forget what we did to STOP VIETNAM?

    C’mon people! Where are you all? Under a freakin Rock?

    Climb out of that rock and let’s come together! Defragment that brain!

    It is time we as a Nation Come back together! What is it going to take?

    • SuzyForwood

      I think it will take our youth to do what we did back in our youth. Look at them demanding freedom, demanding work in other countries. When our youngsters have no jobs, no prospects, no money…things will change because they WILL take to the streets.

      With our gently shoving them out the f’n door. Personally, I can’t walk or stand for long periods of time anymore. Ain’t growing older grand?

  • Gloria Olmstead

    Gee are we losing the war on GMO’s? Talk about destroying this earth…

  • Joan

    I recently read about how CORN is genetically a grass. I can hear the genetic arguments now. And of course the corn grown for livestock feed,cooing oil, fuel and corn syrup is genetically altered to resist the pesticide that is sprayed to kill the weeds in the field.

    I do not think man is going to stop pushing on this. Way too mush money (and greed) involved. I will fight for the next generation but see organic gardening moving into greenhouses with air filters, etc in a very few generations. …. Sigh, Thanks for caring and informing those with ears to hear.

  • Tom Planesi

    If all this science was done in the open for public scrutiny, it would be easy to take these companies’ word. The more they hide, the more problems we expect and the less we want to buy these products from these companies. Label them for ten years, then check the results! Let the capitalist system work.

  • Bonnie Camo MD

    Boycott all Monsanto and Scotts Miracle Gro products! That’s the only thing they understand.

  • Elizabeth Hawes

    This is wrong. Am I to just stop eating? Are my beloved horses and dogs and family supposed to do this as well because of the insane greed that is decomposing brains and hearts that at one time in our history boasted care for human well being? I won’t even buy corn cob bedding for the horses! Now, I find that even in some “organically” labeled food, 70 % of the food particles could be genetically modified. Further that Australia will no longer at a certain time allow imported food from America because the food cannot be guaranteed free of genetically modified contaminants. Make no mistake, this is wrong. Respectfully, what is happening to good sense? This is wrong.

  • Mary

    The Obama administration is also supporting growing GMO plantings in over 50 National Wildlife refuges across the country, internal emails reveled the GMO plots are a priority in the White House. This is in an effort to allow it to become common place to promote it globally. I read this in an article in truthout. I am livid. They know the problems, but the profits of corporations is more of a priority than the health of us and our eco system.

  • alexander

    GMO foods are only legal because there’s enough money behind them to make government excited about forcing them into our food system.

    Nobody wants GMO foods and those that act like they do just don’t know the full extent of the problem. It’s a dangerous game that we’re playing here and it may be too late.

  • B. Talbert

    The Us Forest Service and One of the big chem-bio companies are working together on a project to plant GMO trees bio-engineered with rabbit genes. Did they ever think that there might be a “reason” why rabbit genes are not in trees? Common sense tells most people that we should not be putting parasite roundworm genes into potatoes but the government has no common sense. Similar to Nazi Germany which did all kinds of freakish experiments. And we are forcing other countries to accept our food with all sorts of threats of removal of aid etc. The bully on the block is getting out of hand.

  • Miranda

    This is crazy. Why is it that there is no independent safety testing for GE crops, and yet all our natural herbs and supplements are threatened by the fact that supplement manufacturers are going to have to prove thee safety of their products? It is a total CONTRADICTION in standards.

    I am so sick of the evil that permeates the regulation of our foods. Why must all the poison be permitted, and all the goodness be illegal? It makes no sense, and it must be stopped!

  • amy creel

    Why is it that invasive species of plants or animals are considered very threatening by our EPA, tons of tax dollars go toward “protecting” us from individuals importing or smuggling in organisms that could outpace native species, yet the threat of genetically modified organisms is virtually ignored, unreported, and considered safe? My in-laws travel extensively with their work, and they can attest to the scrutiny they undergo when leaving one country for another.

    Yet no one is considering what genetically modified salmon will do to natural salmon populations as the frankenfish spread in the wild, growing faster and bigger than salmon are meant to grow? What about the gm bluegrass? How will it affect the native grasses of our country? Even without considering the long term affects of ingesting gmo’s, the threat of gmo’s to native species is MONUMENTAL!!! Anyone thought of this besides me?

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