Monsanto may soon be allowed to conduct its own environmental studies. Currently, the USDA is responsible for assessing environmental impacts of new GMO crops, but the agency plans to at least temporarily hand over environmental impact reporting responsibilities to the biotech companies behind GMO crops.
If this isn’t the classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse I don’t know what is.
The two-year pilot program will allow the companies to conduct their own environmental assessments, or alternately outsource the work to contractors. The USDA will retain the final say in determining the safety of crops.
According to Fast Company:
“The USDA won’t actually admit that it’s bad at performing its duties — instead, the agency claims that the move will make the environmental reporting process more timely, efficient, and cost-effective … [But if Monsanto] has a vested interest in getting one of its crops deregulated, why wouldn’t it try to fudge the numbers on an environmental review? And why wouldn’t its hired contractors do the same?”
You might think that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) don’t affect you. But in fact, up to 90 percent of all major U.S. grown crops are grown with genetically engineered seed, and can be used in human and animal foods without any safety testing or labeling.