Reprinted by permission from the Organic Consumers Association In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack. In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and "seed purity," gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the "conditional deregulation" of Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Beyond the regulatory euphemism of "conditional deregulation," this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.
Paul Roberts, author of The End of Food, recently wrote an opinion piece for the L.A. Times called “The True Cost of Steak” on the effects of factory-farmed meat production. Roberts’ opinion rests heavily on research published in the Pew Report “Putting Meat on the Table”, a monumental testament to the consequences of cheap meat, and what the livestock industry would look like if we were to truly pay the costs of production. This report is a must-read for anyone interested in the current state of meat production and seeking a possible route beyond it. Not surprisingly, the Pew report advocates small-scale pasture-based farming, with an emphasis on the elimination of subtherapeautic antibiotic use. Roberts dances around this controversial issue, but it has been said before: maybe we don’t really need as much meat as we eat? If the livestock industry were to pass the true costs on to consumers (pollution, threatened food safety and antibiotic resistance), we wouldn’t have a choice. Perhaps if we ate less – but better meat, we could in effect have our cake and eat it too.