Monday, February 7, 2011
THE ROUNDUP NEWS
Where do you stand on Roundup? It's the best selling weed killer in the world so perhaps you've used it. Do you understand how it works? You spray it on a plant and it is absorbed through the leaves and kills the plant. Then poof the poison vanishes. And that's why it's really safe, or so says the manufacturer.
SOME plants are not killed by Roundup. They include genetically engineered corn and genetically engineered soy beans. These can be sprayed with Roundup, not die, and be processed into various foods that you may or may not know you're eating (at least 70% of processed foods in the US contain Roundup resistant ingredients).
In Europe they don't allow the growing of crops that are sprayed routinely with Roundup (glyphosate). But in the US we keep adding these crops. Last week the government permitted the sale of alfalfa seed that can be sprayed with Roundup. This alfalfa will be fed to the majority of the livestock in the US. We'll eat the meat and drink the milk. The government had stopped the use of Roundup ready sugar beets (about half our sugar is made from beets) but they've just lifted that ban. How sweet is that?
One of the big questions: Does the genetic manipulation that makes these crops immune to harm from glyphosate also change them in a way that makes them harmful to livestock and people?
Another big question: Is it a good idea to be spraying so much of this Roundup?
A third big question: What exactly are the chemicals that are mixed with the glyphosate in the various formulations of Roundup and is anyone studying them separately?
Resouces and interesting further reading:
NOTE: In my recent post about Roundup ready alfalfa I repeated something I'd read -- that Whole Foods and Stoneyfield Yogurt endorsed the government's approval. This has been vehemently denied by both companies and Stoneyfield's Gary Hirshberg had a great editorial about it in the Huffington Post. Here's an excerpt:
Let me first state the obvious -- leaving aside the fact that USDA's own organic standards do not allow the use of genetically engineered crops, Stonyfield is absolutely and utterly opposed to the deregulation of GE crops. We believe that these crops are resulting in significantly higher uses of toxic herbicides and water, creating a new generation of costly "super" weeds, pose severe and irreversible threats to biodiversity and seed stocks, do not live up to the superior yield claims of their patent holders and are unaffordable for small family farmers in the US and around the world. We believe that organic farming methods are proving through objective, scientific validation to offer far better solutions. We also believe that unrestricted deregulation of GE crops unfairly limits farmer and consumer choice. (Read the whole article.)