Agriculture officials have once again ignored science by suggesting deregulation of two new GMO crops from Monsanto that contain built-in resistance to chemicals derived from the same family as Agent Orange. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton are now one step closer to commercial plantings after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared them to be safe and effective in its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), released December 12, 2014.
Xtend technology represents the latest iteration of Roundup Ready genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a knee-jerk solution, if you will, to chemical-resistant “superweeds” that no longer respond to the original Roundup (primary ingredient: glyphosate) formula. Despite thousands of public comments from farmers, environmental experts and others warning that Xtend technology will only further contaminate the environment and food supply, the USDA sided with Monsanto in recommending their approval.
The two crops are resistant to a chemical known as dicamba, which the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) describes as a “close cousin” of 2,4-D, one of the primary active components in the infamous Agent Orange defoliant. These same crops will come stacked with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready gene as well, which will allow them to be sprayed with a special “premix” of both dicamba and glyphosate.
“Dicamba-tolerant soy and cotton are simply the latest example of USDA’s allegiance to the biotechnology industry and dependence upon chemical solutions,” reads a statement issued by Food & Water Watch (FWW) Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “This continues the disturbing trend of more herbicide-tolerant crop approvals taking place under President Obama’s watch.” …