Act Now to Win New Federal Restrictions!
Sign on to USDA letter by September 6, 2007
The USDA is considering the adoption of new regulations for genetically engineered (GE) organisms. They have released an extensive Environmental Impact Statement describing the proposed changes that are being considered. The proposed changes to the failing federal GE regulatory system provide us with a unique and important opportunity to make our voices heard.
One of the options under consideration is to prohibit the open-air production of food and feed crops that produce pharmaceutical drugs and industrial compounds. However, USDA is leaning towards a much more lenient policy, so public comment is important to encourage them to do more to protect the food supply and the environment.
We invite your organization or business to sign on to the letter below urging USDA to adopt a ban on the open-air production of food and feed crops that produce pharmaceutical drugs and industrial compounds.
To sign on, send us your name, title, and organization name. The deadline for sign ons is September 6th.
SIGN ON LETTER
Docket No. APHIS-2006-0112
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238
We, the undersigned, are writing to urge you to adopt Alternative 4 as described in Issue 4 of the USDA's Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement-July 2007.
The technology of using genetically engineered plants to produce human and animal drugs is both promising and risky. We believe that the highest priority for USDA/APHIS should be to protect the food supply and U.S. farmers from the potentially devastating effects of contamination by experimental drugs and chemicals. Our concerns are summarized as follows:
Risks to the food supply - The use of genetically engineered food and feed crops for producing pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals exposes American citizens to the risk of consuming unapproved and possibly dangerous compounds such as cancer drugs, blood thinners, antibiotics and plastics.
Risks to farm economies - There is no question that contamination of the food supply by the experimental substances produced in pharmaceutical and industrial chemical food crops would result in the closure of domestic and export markets for U.S. farmers. While a small number of farmers nationally may benefit from the niche that these crops could one day offer, the majority are at great economic risk.
Risks to the environment - The consequences for natural ecosystems, animals, insects and microorganisms of exposure to plant material containing pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals are largely unknown, potentially harmful, and should be limited to the extent possible.
Our conclusion is that food and feed crops should be discouraged for the purpose of producing pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals, and if approved for experimentation, should take place in laboratory or other confined conditions.
Alternative 4 effectively balances the risks of food contamination with potential future benefits. It would permit research into potentially valuable drugs and industrial chemicals since it would allow for the field testing of non-food crops, as well as for the indoor testing of food crops. We urge you to adopt Alternative 4 for Issue 4 of the EIS.
Thank you for your consideration, and for acting in the interests of American consumers, farmers, and the food industry.
Name, Title, Organization/Business
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