USDA Determined to Support GMO Alfalfa

January 3, 2011

The agency sent a letter of intent to key stakeholders.

USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has sent a letter to key stakeholders in alfalfa production, indicating the agency’s interest in moving forward with coexistence measures for genetically-modified (GMO) alfalfa and non-GMO alfalfa.

Vilsack’s letter of intent comes weeks after USDA’s release of an environmental impact statement (EIS) on Roundup Ready Alfalfa, a GMO alfalfa resistant to Roundup brand pesticide and produced by Monsanto (St. Louis).

“I have tremendous confidence in our existing regulatory system and no doubts about the safety of the products this system has approved and will continue to approve,” wrote Vilsack. “As a regulatory agency, sound science and decisions based on this science are our priority, and science strongly supports the safety of GE [genetically engineered] alfalfa…we have an obligation to carefully consider USDA's 2300-page EIS, which acknowledges the potential of cross-fertilization to non-GE alfalfa from GE alfalfa-a significant concern for farmers who produce for non-GE markets at home and abroad.”

Nutritional Outlook will continue to report on issues of GMO production as information becomes available.