The short answer is yes!
Here’s the long answer. Congress recently appropriated $3 million to fund the Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative. These funds will be used by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to provide consumer education on agricultural biotechnology and food and animal feed ingredients derived from biotechnology.”
But, they aren’t planning on discussing the downsides to GMOs, CAFOs, and chemical intensive monocropping. They are planning on promoting the “safety and benefits of crop biotechnology.”
Some important things to consider and cause for concern: The FDA is dedicated to producing “science-based educational information on the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts of such biotechnology.” But that begs the question whose science are they planning on using? The majority of FDA and USDA approvals for bioengineered products, such as biotechnology and pesticides engineered to work with genetically engineered foods, are based solely on industry research. A recent release of documents from The Monsanto lawsuits shows the close ties between government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, and industry. These documents demonstrate how government research has been influenced by the biotech industry in order to present favorable results for agricultural chemicals. It is very concerning to think that the FDA and USDA will be presenting information to consumers that is based off biased industry-funded research.
In addition, the FDA is planning to target particular groups of people with these materials including children/youth, older Americans, underserved populations, individuals with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and other subpopulations. They are focusing their outreach on some of the most vulnerable populations. These are some of the same subpopulations who have a tendency to consume higher levels of processed food, therefore consuming higher levels of products containing GMOs and related pesticides. Apparently, these government funds are being used to keep biotech’s target markets hooked on their products.
So, what can you do about it? Take Action.
The FDA is currently accepting public comments on the Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative. It is important that they hear from YOU and other concerned consumers and taxpayers. Your voice matters! We must continue to hold our government officials accountable and prevent them from using government funds to do promote big biotech’s corporate agenda. Please take action and then share with your friends and families. The FDA needs to hear from as many people as possible.
FDA is looking for comments with responses to the following questions:
- What are the specific topics, questions, or other information that consumers would find most useful, and why?
- Currently, how and from where do consumers most often receive information on this subject?
- How can FDA (in coordination with USDA) best reach consumers with science-based educational information on this subject?
Remember that the more detailed and informative you can be the more credibility your comment has. See below for a sample comment to submit.
You can submit your comment here. The comment period closes on November 17, 2017 – so make sure to get your comments in ASAP. And, ask everyone you know to do the same.
If you are burnt out on submitting online petition forms you can also send a letter or postcard to the FDA via
Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
As a taxpayer I am disappointed to see the government using taxpayer funds to promote a system of agriculture that does not benefit people or the environment. The proposed program is essentially government funded propaganda for the biotechnology industry, using federal agencies to promote a corporate agenda.
GMOs and biotechnology have led to the further industrialization of our food system causing:
- An increase in monocropping resulting in depleted soils.
- An increase in packaged foods that rely on additives derived from GMOs, contributing to the obesity epidemic in this country.
- Deforestation of major regions throughout the world to make way for growing feed crops for animals.
- The increased use of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) as a system to raise animals. CAFOs promote increased infections and disease, dependence on the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics, and the rise of antibiotic resistance bacteria – contributing to the death of over 23,000 Americans each year.
- Promotion of other new technologies such as CRISPR, gene editing, and nanotechnology. These technologies are being used with little to no regulation and without consideration for their impact on the environment and people.
- The dependence on synthetic chemicals produced using fossil fuels.
- Major aquatic dead zones as the result of fertilizer run off.
- Agriculture to become a major contributor to climate change.
We are at a turning point in history where we have the ability to reverse the harm that we have done to our bodies, communities, and the environment. Industrialized chemical-intensive agriculture designed to work around biotechnology is the system of the past. In order to build a more sustainable agriculture system that is part of the plan to mitigate climate change we need to move away from chemical-intensive agriculture. Rather than promoting and continuing with a system that is clearly flawed and benefits corporate interests rather than society, these funds would be much better used to help farmers transition to regenerative organic agriculture, to build urban food hubs, for community education on healthy eating, and to aid the next generation of farmers in accessing land and resources sustainably.
Thank you for your consideration of these comments.