Frankenveggies: Monsanto Protection Act passes Senate

The Knowles Gallery, Flickr Creative Commons

The Knowles Gallery, Flickr Creative Commons

From my column at Communities @ Washington Times

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2013 — Last week, the U.S. Senate approved HR 933, a short term funding measure designed to avoid a March 27 government shutdown.  Hidden within HR 933 is section 735, the “Farmer Assurance Provision.”

Called the “Monsanto Protection Act” by critics, this section gives the USDA the power to allow the planting, harvest and sale of genetically engineered crops, even if a court rules that they were not properly approved. Short of a Presidential veto, the provision is a certain victory for genetically engineered foods.

In the past, if a court ruled that a genetically engineered crop was not properly approved by USDA and could pose a risk to health or the environment, the court could halt its planting and sale, pending a review of the approval.  This so-called “biotech rider” effectively strips courts of this power and allows the production and commercialization of the crop during the appeals process.

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