Last month I talked to a PCA in the southern San Joaquin Valley who was surprised at an alfalfa grower’s first year production. The reason for the call wasn’t based on Roundup Ready alfalfa, but the PCA brought up the subject and was eager to talk about it. A long-time pest control advisor and a grower, he’s ecstatic over a late planting that’s producing yields much higher than expected.

His comments made me think it was time to check the naysayers who have been doing everything possible to stop RR alfalfa (RRA) and other GMOs. Last year’s effort to try and regulate RRA again didn’t work for the Center for Food Safety (CFS), which pitted the organization vs. USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack and Gregory Parham. This past Jan. 5, a federal Judge shot down the CFS’ attempt to deregulate.

Looking at the CFS website for the first time since January, it wasn’t a surprise to see that GMO’s were on their front page and other pages. The site has an article that explains why they lost the RRA litigation. Among the reasons: “The absence of (USDA) sound science to prove that contamination can be prevented or that it is safe for human health or the environment.”

It’s ludicrous to say there was no sound science with USDA-APHIS. The Environmental Impact Statement, mandated by a federal Judge in 2007, was conducted by APHIS and did thorough research that was transparent. When RRA was deregulated, the Center for Food Safety urged its members to tell dairies that it won’t buy dairy products from companies that use GE alfalfa.

Prop 37 food labeling

One of several issues on the CFS website is an important topic: Labeling. In California, Prop 37 will be a major headache if it’s voted in, and would then require labeling of GMOs for raw or processed foods. On the surface to many people, labeling is probably a relatively small change. But Dr. Harry Miller, a fellow at Stanford’s University Hoover Institution, has a much different outlook on Prop. 37 that will open some eyes.

In the Aug. 22 San Francisco Chronicle opinion page, Miller calls Prop 37 a “scheme” written by trial lawyers who “hope for a windfall.” He went on to say that it gives us something we don’t need, a “new bureaucracy” with “large loopholes and higher grocery bills.” Miller, founding director of the Biotechnology Office at the Food and Drug Administration, noted that, “Genetically engineered foods have been determined to be safe in more than 400 studies.” To take it even further, there hasn’t been a documented illness after 3 trillion servings.

A UCLA molecular biologist, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, told the Chronicle that “credible” scientists working on GMOs call it safe. GMO food safety is also approved by organizations like the World Health Organization, American Medical Association and the National Academy of Sciences.