Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Genetically Engineered Crops: Coming to a Store Near You?

    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Raviya Ismail:
Earthjustice Will Defend Kaua’i Pesticides Ordinance

It took the Kauaʻi County Council 19 hours to decide to pass, by a vote of 6–1, a controversial ordinance that would restrict the use of pestic...

by Jessica Knoblauch:
Friday Finds: The Government's Toxic Love Affair

EPA disses green chemistry program Recently, the EPA pulled the rug out from under a green chemistry grant program without any explanation and little...

by Jessica Knoblauch:
Friday Finds: Big Coal’s Big Sugar Daddies

Report finds allegedly “green” banks finance dirty coal A recent investigation by a group of non-governmental organizations found that a ...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Paul Achitoff's blog posts
16 January 2014, 6:41 AM
Consumers fight for protections and labeling
Clouds over a soy field. New GE corn and soy varieties have been engineered to resist the effects of 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange. (Photo courtesy of Jerry Worster)

This month, Maine became the second state in the nation to require labels on food that contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. The state’s decision is part of a growing, nationwide effort to assert the right of consumers to know what they’re eating. Currently, more than 26 states are considering proposals to require labeling of altered foods, including Hawaiʻi, where Earthjustice is pushing for laws requiring labeling of GE products.

Despite support from 9 out of 10 Americans for labeling, the USDA recently made it even more likely that the next generation of GE corn and soy will soon be on the market—unlabeled and without any restriction or oversight whatsoever.

Are GE crops more nutritious or better tasting? Do they grow with less water or have higher yields? No on all accounts. Most GE crops to date have been created solely to resist herbicides. The most popular have been Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” crops, which tolerate the Roundup herbicide with glyphosate, its active ingredient. These crops offer consumers no benefit, but they allow farmers to freely douse their fields with herbicides without killing the crop. This convenience resulted in half a billion additional pounds of toxic herbicide being sprayed on U.S. fields between 1996 and 2011.

Increased herbicide isn’t the only problem brought by these crops. When the same herbicide is sprayed on a field repeatedly, a few naturally resistant weeds survive, reproduce and eventually take over. Now, more than 60 million acres of U.S. cropland are infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds. Industry’s solution to this problem was just to genetically engineer crops to resist a different, more toxic herbicide: 2,4-D.

These new corn and soy varieties, known by the trade name “Enlist,” are engineered by Dow Agrosciences to resist the effects of the herbicide 2,4-D, and other herbicides. If 2,4-D sounds familiar, that’s because it’s infamous for being a major component of Agent Orange, the Vietnam War-era defoliant. The herbicide itself is toxic to the liver in small doses, is associated with higher risk of Lou Gehrig’s disease, malformed sperm, and possibly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s currently not approved for use on lawns and gardens in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Kuwait and the Canadian provinces of Québec and Ontario. Meanwhile, the USDA acknowledges that allowing these crops on the market will likely more than triple use of 2,4-D in the U.S.—an increase of tens of millions of pounds per year.

In addition to increased use of a toxic herbicide, these new crops carry all the same problems as the old ones. Just as Roundup-resistant crops produced millions of acres of glyphosate-resistant weeds, constant use of 2,4-D on fields of these crops will inevitably lead to 2,4-D-resistant weeds, further escalating the cycle of weed resistance and chemical use. Wildlife living in and around croplands will see 2,4-D drifting into their habitats, threatening their existence. Biodiversity will continue to drop as monocultures of corn and soy dominate the landscape. Neighboring organic and conventional farmers will risk damage from drifting herbicide, and will have to test their crops for transgenic contamination or risk losing their GE-sensitive markets. Contamination will continue regardless, since it can and does happen in so many ways, from cross-pollination to all kinds of human error. And with industry fiercely resisting the labeling of GE products, consumers will continue to be denied the right to know what they’re eating.

Yet the USDA, instead of being more alert to these issues and seeking to ameliorate them, tries harder and harder to avoid dealing with them. It refuses to look at impacts of transgenic contamination or higher 2,4-D use on people, plants, or wildlife. Worse, it takes the position that these are not its responsibility, although it’s USDA’s approval that’s causing these impacts. As for the herbicide’s effects, the USDA says that’s the EPA’s problem, but it remains to be seen whether the EPA will restrict this program in any way. And as far as the USDA is concerned, farmers and consumers are on their own if they want to avoid buying, selling, growing or eating GE products.

Left with little assistance from the federal government, states are taking it upon themselves to protect their communities from GE foods and their herbicides. Recently in Hawaiʻi, the Kauaʻi County Council passed an ordinance requiring disclosure of pesticide use, buffer zones around sensitive areas, and disclosure of GE crops being grown. The ordinance was passed following several incidents where students at a local school fell sick after pesticide spray drifted into the school yard. Upon the ordinance’s passage, three multinational agrichemical companies—Dow, DuPont, and Syngenta—sued the Council. Earthjustice testified in favor of the ordinance and now is preparing to go to court to intervene on behalf of community groups to defend the county law and Kaua’i’s residents.

If you’re concerned about the impacts of allowing a new generation of GE crops to grow freely, support our fight by submitting comments on the USDA’s Environmental Impact Statement at!submitComment;D=APHIS-2013-0042-0050.

great article. it's about the right size to fit right in the comment section on

Correction: Yesterday I wrote that Michael Taylor was an Obama appointee at the U.S. Dept of Agriculture. No, he left that department before Obama became president. Obama appointed Taylor, former Monsanto attorney and lobbyist, to the Food and Drug Administration. Taylor is in charge of food safety at the FDA. That's like appointing the Boston Strangler to assist old ladies across the crosswalk on a dark street.

Do seeds cartel expect Monsanto be their stalking horse? How committed
will endowment portfolios carriage for corporations that tithe curricula
formatted for their asset expansions that bio-curse progeny?

I prefer real food and will buy nothing but natural organic foods. I want to know and have the right to know what I am eating.

"If 2,4-D sounds familiar, that’s because it’s infamous for being a major component of Agent Orange"
Or, more likely, it is familiar because it is in nearly every weed killer for lawns in the US. You lose credibility when you try to drop in fear words like 'Agent Orange' when anyone with a computer can find out that 2,4-D is not the deadly portion of that concoction - unless you are a dandelion?
A more likely reason to get this gmo resistance pushed through is to kill off the use of the chemical, currently is one of the few remaining chemicals that can be used on these super weeds and it has been out of patent protection for a long time.

2,4-D is, indeed, in many other products. And it's also true that people were more concerned about the dioxin in the 2,4,5-T component of Agent Orange. However, also true: Some preparations of 2,4-D are contaminated with dioxins due to the manufacturing process. Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is classified as "carcinogenic to humans" by International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Contamination is predominantly of the type with 2 or 3 chlorine atoms. Another form of dioxin, 2,7-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,7-DCDD) was found to be equipotent to dioxin TCDD in its toxic effect on the immunity of mice. TCDD received all the publicity while the DCDD component was largely forgotten. To this day, DCDD is not regulated or monitored by the EPA and PMRA, even though DCDD levels could be at much higher levels than TCDD. And there's reputable science that associates 2,4-D exposure--not Agent Orange--with several serious illnesses. For example, (non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma). So, the idea that 2,4-D is harmful only to dandelions is false.

The first lady, who has been promoting healthy foods, needs to address the GMO debate and get it in the forefront of the public. I don't have her email address. CAN SOMEONE FORWARD THIS ARTICLE AND COMMENTS TO HER?

Flotus@Flotus (Twitter)

In addition to all the other problems associated with saturating the farms with long-lasting poisons, we all might want to recall the magnificant, and rapidly decllining, Monarch Butterfly migration. That migration requires 5 generations of caterpillers live to make it north, and then send the grandchilcdren "home" to ther wintering mountains in Mexico.
Problem is that the Monarch caterpillers are every bit as sensitive to Roundup and 2,4 D as other "plant eaters". Fewer butterflies are returning to Mexico, last 2 years, lots fewer! Could the Monarch species be endangered by the GenEng "movement" simply by virtue of being innocent "bystanders" (whose major, and only food source is a

PLease think about preserving insects - many of which are very beneficial, and some of which, like the Monarch Butterfly, are IRREPLACABLY MAGNIFICANT! And they've been around for millions of years, when plants evolved in concert with other life. What gives us the right to kill the butterfly species now? Greed?

Dr. Willa Drummond

PS: 2,4 D is a human teratogen which is used in perinatal research labs to create animal models of a horrible (and very serious)human congenital defect - called a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) in newborm babies. In human babies, both congenital heart disease and CDH cluster in agricultural and plant industry workers, as well as people (fathers ans mothers) working with lead, and other toxins. It's pure poison that we are preparing to super-saturate our most productive lands with. FOLLY!!!

Michael Taylor was once corporate counsel for Monsanto. He then became Monsanto's chief lobbyist. Obama appointed him to the second-highest position in the USDA. He's in charge of food safety. He also has a high position at the Food and Drug Administration. There's not much hope for the USDA protecting food safety, with this fox guarding the henhouse.

I went straight organic vegetarian once I learned about gmo's existance. I have been able to find organic flour, organic eggs, organic almond milk, organic corn meal, cereal, veggies and fruit. I pester the heck out of those responsible for these frankenfoods. They are treading on my rights to know what my food contains yet the sellouts in the USDA and our so called "representatives" in this country continue to approve gmo crap after gmo garbage even knowing we don't want it in our food supply. Other countries have banned this crap because they apparently care about the people that live in their countries. Our government departments staff, representatives, etc. only cares about money lining their pockets and that trumps all. I am willing to bet none of them eat it.

I will not eat GMOs and they should be labeled. There should be an agency that streamlines what is organic and what is GMO, etc. I will not eat it here or there, I will not eat it anyway.

The problem is the whores in congress are allowed to accept money from lobbyists to buy legislation, weaken, legislation and otherwise ignore what's good for constituents. We now live in a Fascist state. There are over 1200 lobbyists in Washington just for big pharma and the medical mafia. Imagine how many for the biotech engineering groups. End donations to legislators and you government will again work for the people.

Eaglemount, we can't really conclude that the outcomes of the labeling initiatives in California and Washington are demonstrative of our wishes, as there is so much voter suppression and opportunity to change the tally through manipulation of our no-paper-trail voting machine systems. Additionally, the corporations hire PR firms that are superb at convincing people to vote against their own interests, by simply lying, confusing and instilling fear (e.g. that food prices will shoot up from GMO labeling).

The 9 out of 10 statistic of Americans wanting labeling may well be true, if we are surveyed in a neutral manner rather than in a state of agitation where we are being brainwashed and manipulated during a ballot initiative -- which unfortunately is getting easier to do, given the state of our educational system, and our deteriorating health due to consumption of GMOs and other poisons!

I have been in agribusiness my entire life and have witnessed up close and personal the antics that Monsanto and like companies have pulled to get their clout, including suing (and WINNING), cases against farmers who were determined NOT to be customers of theirs. Their GMO neighbor's crop would carry some of Monsanto's patented genetics through the air into their fields, then Monsanto sent their field agents into these fields without permission, take samples and prove that their GMO products and genetics were being grown without the company's liscense and permission. These farmers are now having to pay Monsanto for NOT being customers of theirs.
To say this is evil would be an understatement.
We are fighting an incredibly big war with a lot of power.
Supreme Court--Clarence Thomas--ex-Monsanto employee. Just for starters. The two-way street from major corporations like all those mentioned into Washington positions of power and then back again to corporate jobs is neverending. We've passed the point of calling this "corruption".

Don't forget that Hillary Clinton worked for a law firm that had Monsanto as a client.

We need a separate branch of the USDA called the CERTIFIEDNONGMOUSDA.

Listen, I have been a member of Earthjustice since its inception. So my "greenness" is not questionable by reasonable people. I am a geneticist and there is nothing inherently wrong with GMO crops. The fact that GMOs resistant to herbicides increases herbicide use IS the problem. NOT the trait of a plant being a GMO. There is no data that shows that creating a GMO plant is a health risk. It is the HERBICIDES that are the health risk!

OMG finally, someone who speaks with sense. I have done extensive research and have come to the same conclusion. GMO's are NOT the problem, the chemicals we use is the problem. I wish more people would do their own research and get the facts instead of propogating the BS. Google it people, do a research study in agriculture journals, chemistry journals, etc. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

No worries that any pro GMO info comes from Corporate paid sources.
No worries that the GMO's pollinate across fences thus making near fields
into GMO crops.
No worries that monsanto has actually sued neighboring farmes that had
been infected by these dangerous GMO varieties.
No worries that these GMO varieties actually cause the use of even
MORE pesticides.
No worries that mosanto, dow, dupont and others have used there corporate might
to force, coerce and bribe there way to being used.

"I am a geneticist and there is nothing inherently wrong with GMO crops"

You might as well also say:
We are Mondsanto amd there is nothing wrong with GMO crops!

Money and corporate profit, shareholder profit rule here.
You are NOT green!
I do not believe you and I certainly do NOT believe anything said by monstanto.

Thanks for showing your steadfast in your ideas Mr. Anonymous

Point being GMO should be labeled.

I am now buying cattle feed and chicken lay feed labeled, "Organic, Non-GMO, and "Round-Up Free". If AG Companies see profit in labeling the products for food producing animals, how is it that food for people is not labeled?

Trader Joe says they test all products they put their labels on to sell only GMO free foods. (Can we trust them? Who knows who to trust anymore?)

Since we are in the worst drought in recorded history in Central CA, I'm only raising this beef for family and friends. It's like raising the Golden Calf! However, My grandchildren will not be eating GMO beef, or non-organic vegetables!

If you really want to know what is going on, read "The Creature From Jekyll Island and it will become clear as crystal. Gretchen Edmiston above is correct.z

My beautiful United States is no longer United. It's love for money as corrupted and badly influenced our young all over the world. We will fall hard before things get better. It is sad to see history coming and repeating itself into self destruction. I sadly look forward to that day so we may start fresh as a whole community that will care enough about each other instead of the self and its money.

I'm surprised that no one has recognized companies like Dow,Dupont, Monsanto and Syngenta are undoubtedly part of the 600 representatives negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that President Obama is looking forward to Fast Track thru Congress pretty soon. If you don't like what is happening now, then you had better get active and learn the detail of TPP and Fast Track. It will basically create a new higher order of World Government where we will become subject to Corporate decision making without redress!

Watch a movie called "Thrive", it explains everything.

Paul - The real question is whether their business plan is for this soy and corn to be used for biofuels and industrial products rather than food. They've lost the battle on GMO'd foods. Now our focus needs to shift to blocking them via boycotts of the other products for which these toxic "plants" will provide the raw materials.

In my opinion, the problem is larger than the GMO issue--it's the USDA, which needs to be reorganized with a new secretary and new executives. Over and over this department has shirked its oversight duties and sided with big agriculture, big pharma, and big business in general.

Yes, Gretchen Edmiston, I agree with you entirely about the failure of public education. A university professor for 25 years, I have seen a marked decline in student literacy, passion, compassion, idealism, and ability to concentrate. Only about 2 in 24 in a recent freshman seminar class had heard of or knew anything about Hiroshima, Sigmund Freud, fracking, genetically modified crops, or William Butler Yeats. I was trying to explain the concept of case histories and connect some ethical principles to real-life occurrences. These same students eat chips and candy bars when they are hungry, and feel pleased with their dietary choices when they put a leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato on their burger.
Some of them have been persuaded to watch "Forks Over Knives" (a GREAT documentary) and have severely reduce their consumption of animal products. Others have begun experimenting with green smoothies. But most of them give me cause for deep and perpetual concern. Surely their diets are not nourishing their brains. The Bible says that creation groans under the weight of man's sin (Romans 8:22); as a race we are bad stewards.
The growing of GM crops is an environmental crime, and the USDA is clearly admitting its fear of GM by failing to require labeling. Happily, though, it is still not a crime for good companies to buy non-GMO crops and label their products accordingly.

Looks like the only way to stop them is to just Stop buying what they sell. Go to a local farmer's market, find a community garden or plant your own with heirloom seeds. Better start saving and hoarding those now. They will be worth more than gold or diamonds in the not too distant future.
The only way to hurt them is to hurt their bottom line profit so bad they Give In and at least become honest and honorable and label the food they ruin so those who are smart enough to not want to consume it have that CHOICE.
It is obvious they care about the money, but the real (long term) agenda sounds more like gaining a Monopoly on the World's food source and therefore control of the world. I know it seems like a bad horror movie, but that's what it will be!. Only a couple of entities produce almost all the seeds now under various names. WE MUST ALL GET ACTIVE NOW and SPEAK OUT!

All GE food must be LABELED. Consumers have the right to know what they are eating and taking into their bodies. GE food must be labeled for ALL food, crops, animals that were given GE food while alive then used for human consumption, also any food for animals be it for pets or whatever. Also, any farm that grows GE food must make it known to the public that their food is GE and has a responsibility not to contaminate land and crops not their own.

Most people are against GE food for consumption be it human or non human, against contaminating land and crops and the environment. Also, people have a responsibility for their health and most people do not want GE foods in their bodies or their pets.

The above stated is the bare minimum. It's a shame that our law makers have sold out the people of this country for the huge billion dollar chemical companies and large corporate farmers who have no interest in the inhabitants of this planet, environment.

Europe and some countries outside of Europe have it right, they have a BAN on GE food. The people of these countries are lucky, they have representatives who look after their health, the health of others, land, water, environment.


If GMO frankinfood technology is so wonderful (in lieu of wonder-fool)...
then I would think the proponents would be enthusiastic and proud to label
their technology on food products. Why the obfuscation? Eh?


The Brits complained about horsemeat in the hamburger. We got soybeans treated with hexane in ours. Everything in this country is done for the benefit of the corporations anymore. What the people want does not count.

I don't want to eating food made from crops that have been sprayed with Agent Orange. With this and fracking America is being turned into a toxic wasteland for the profits of Big Business.

Our Senators and Congressmen are all bought and paid for by these large corporations. Most Americans are ignorant or simply don't care, which I hope isn't the case of how their Congressmen or Senators vote on these issues. We have the power with our wallets and purses as the buying American public and who we vote into these offices. Our country is deteriorating before our very eyes and if we don't find a way to get these people to vote on these issues with the American public's interest in mind then very soon it will be over. Profits over the health of America! I just don't get it.

I am against all GMO's foods . I got candida Albicans overgrowth . It from birth control, antibiotics meat , chemicals food and products, (Gmo's ) steroids , and stomach surgeries. This slowly weaken the immune system down and the bacteria in the large intestines eat a hole in the stomach then get into the blood stream . This cause multiple symptoms that can be linked to 90 percent of over illness in America. Don't believe me, look it up here: and here:,d.cGU and here,d.cGU. There no cure!

Does anybody remember the old saying, "The customer is always right?" Once upon a time, businesses thought the opinion of those who used their goods or services was important. Now we are all customers of big corporations who don't care what we think. They underprice the little, local businesses until they put them out of business, then the big guys are free to do and price anyway they want. What they do is to make money. How they do it is unimportant to them. Unfortunately, most of their "customers" don't know what's happening to them until there are really bad, widespread results At that point everyone pleads innocence and starts pointing the finger at someone else. What can we do? Not much. We either educate enough "customers" to actually hurt the huge sales of these huge corporations, we manage to put enough pressure on our government agencies to make them work for us and not corporations, (which apparently isn't easy) or we wait for the results, at which time most of the damage will probably have been done.
Does everyone know the claim that if a frog starts out in a nice cool puddle of water it will continue to sit there until the water gets so hot the frog expires? I doubt if it's true. I think frogs are smarter than that. But I wonder if we humans are.

Thank you for this concise and well-written comment. Please, if you are able, get it out to more people. in Jesus, the Creator of this earth.


Please don't 'yell' {Use all upper case letters} it's not necessary.. Occasional Capital letters for EMPHASIS is actually more effective !

GMO FOOD is despicable and extremely DANGEROUS over a period of time!!! I DO NOT
Sandy Danielson for NSA purposes!!!!

Hey America,


The food on your table is banned in over 30 countries!

Don't all consumers realize that produce that can kill weeds or insects are enabled by the drugs in them. When we eat this produce we consume these drugs, WHAT IS THIS DOING TO US AND OUR CHILDREN?

USDA infidels, I'm warning you right now...
If you make any attempt contaminate our food
with GMOs against the will of the American people,
not only I will personally have you prosecuted on charges
of high treason, but I will also use my powers of the
Universe, and put a curse on you and your Monsanto henchmen!!

We need a international tribunal (similar to one from Nuremberg) for crime against Nature and Humanity. We should not wait to see what these technologies will bring to our Planet and the future generations living here. Once they are out nobody will be able to bring them back in their laboratories.

The weeds will always win.

If we can only view our beautiful earth as we do our own mothers, and treat Her with respect.

Men cannot control Mother Earth, who births life out of chaos and nurtures and nourishes all Beings on the planet. Who creates new life from death which feeds it. Men with their instruments have only begun to understand a tiny part of this amazing spiral of life. It's messy and bloody and wild and it's deep and dark, as well as light.

Once we acknowledge that we are all One, All Connected, we shift our perspective. Perhaps having money and power obscures the Oneness perspective?

There was tests done on mice eating gmos and the third generation became unfertile and had huge lumps of cancer. Population control that kills the poor people, the 80% of families not cut out for the new world. In a way it's genocide, in another its a pesky weed killer. While the "soft" kill is going on certain industries will prosper. If you have a lot of money you can buy out the news and not air anything that would damage your reputation. Monsanto has one objective, monopoly over the food supply. They already have plants that wont give seeds so every year you must buy more. You wanna know what you can do? The body doesn't need food every day. Also we breate too much. So stop indulging in these earthly desires, you'll be much healthier and giving them less money. Right now only a few countries are allowing gmos. So until we get them labelled starve them from are slave wages.

There was tests done on mice eating gmos and the third generation became unfertile and had huge lumps of cancer. Population control that kills the poor people, the 80% of families not cut out for the new world. In a way it's genocide, in another its a pesky weed killer. While the "soft" kill is going on certain industries will prosper. If you have a lot of money you can buy out the news and not air anything that would damage your reputation. Monsanto has one objective, monopoly over the food supply. They already have plants that wont give seeds so every year you must buy more. You wanna know what you can do? The body doesn't need food every day. Also we breate too much. So stop indulging in these earthly desires, you'll be much healthier and giving them less money. Right now only a few countries are allowing gmos. So until we get them labelled starve them from are slave wages.

There was tests done on mice eating gmos and the third generation became unfertile and had huge lumps of cancer. Population control that kills the poor people, the 80% of families not cut out for the new world. In a way it's genocide, in another its a pesky weed killer. While the "soft" kill is going on certain industries will prosper. If you have a lot of money you can buy out the news and not air anything that would damage your reputation. Monsanto has one objective, monopoly over the food supply. They already have plants that wont give seeds so every year you must buy more. You wanna know what you can do? The body doesn't need food every day. Also we breate too much. So stop indulging in these earthly desires, you'll be much healthier and giving them less money. Right now only a few countries are allowing gmos. So until we get them labelled starve them from are slave wages.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.