“One of the most outrageous special interest provisions in years.” That’s what Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) calls the Monsanto Protection Act, which became law in March.1
Now we have an opportunity to stop it. Senator Merkley has proposed an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill that would repeal the Monsanto Protection Act – but it will take serious grassroots pressure to even make sure the amendment comes up for a vote.
Tell the Senate: Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act
Cynically dubbed the “Farmer Assurance Provision,” this provision allows Monsanto and other companies to ignore existing food safety rules, and continue selling genetically modified seeds even if a court has blocked them from doing so.
CNN said that “the law passed without most of Congress even knowing about it.”2 Jon Stewart put it a different way: “The laws of the most powerful nation on earth are written with the same level of accountability as internet comments.”3
Even from our dysfunctional Congress, this was stunning. Tell the Senate: Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act.
Our system of ensuring the safety of genetically modified foods is already insufficient, and wrought with industry influence. The FDA and USDA routinely approve foods without sufficient review, and often rely on shoddy industry-generated studies to determine the safety of GMO foods.
The courts provide a vital check to allow us to challenge approvals that were conducted too hastily – as when federal courts found the USDA’s 2009 approval of Monsanto’s GMO sugar beets to have been based on an insufficient review.
But the Monsanto Protection Act strips the courts of the power to halt seed sales, and actually compels the USDA to approve products whose approval the courts have challenged. It’s so outrageous, the USDA says the provision might not be enforceable.4
Now our legislators have an opportunity to undo this appalling act of putting special interests like Monsanto ahead of our health and the safety of our food. Urge the Senate to take action now.
1. “‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Repeal Effort Officially Backed By Sen. Jeff Merkley,” Huffington Post, 5/20/13
2. “Last Minute Legislation: Bad for Our Health,” CNN, 3/29/13
3. “Jon Stewart explains the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’,” Mother Nature Network, 4/12/13
4. “Group says Monsanto law skirts courts, requires approval of genetically engineered seeds,” Politifact, 3/29/13
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