A USDA study has confirmed the agency’s own original forecast that GM alfalfa would promiscuously contaminate the non-GM crop. This news follows years of contamination incidents, leading to lawsuits between farmers growing organic, non-GM crops and farmers growing genetically modified crops.
The study involved Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, which, like most GE crops in the U.S., is engineered to survive copious amounts of Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship herbicide. Monsanto’s GE alfalfa has essentially ‘gone wild,’ causing American alfalfa growers millions in lost income.
USDA scientist Stephanie Greene and a team scoured California, Idaho, and Washington for feral (wild) alfalfa strands, and found that one-quarter (27%) of them contained transgenic alfalfa – plants that tested positive for the Roundup Ready gene.
They believe that most of these wild populations likely popped up from seeds spilled during alfalfa production or transport. The team also found evidence that the trans genes were being spread by bees.
As the Center for Food Safety Explains:
“What makes the high (27%) GE contamination rate found in this study so remarkable is how little GE alfalfa produced it. USDA first approved Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2005, and it occupied just 1% of national alfalfa acreage in 2006. A federal court prohibited new plantings starting in 2007, but allowed what had already been planted to remain in the ground (an alfalfa stand is typically grown for about five years).
Because this study was conducted just a few months after the re-approval of GE alfalfa in 2011, all of the feral GE alfalfa the researchers detected arose from the comparatively few fields planted in 2005 and 2006. There is much more GE alfalfa being grown now (Monsanto says 30% of alfalfa seed sold is GE). So there is likely much more feral GE alfalfa today than is suggested by this study.”
The USDA study also contradicts the USDA’s own lies about “co-existence.” The USDA says that co-existence between non-GM and GM crops is possible, when in fact, there is no truth to that claim.