On March 23, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it will allow farmers to plant a new strain of genetically modified (GMO) corn created by Monsanto without any permits or government oversight.
The new strain of GMO corn, called MON87419, is designed to survive being blanketed with the toxic weed-killers dicamba and glufosinate (produced by the same companies that designed the genetically-modified crops themselves).
What’s going on? In a nutshell, the issue is being spurred by the growth of chemical-resistant weeds. As time has gone on, more and more weeds have grown into so-called superweeds, those that can withstand certain herbicides. New chemicals are created to battle the weeds, but they often then end up harming the crop as well. Monsanto’s solution? Genetically modify crops like corn to resist the toxic chemicals. The fear, however, is twofold: it’s likely that more and more of these weed-killers will be sprayed on crops and consumers are eating GMO foods, which haven’t been tested for long-term effects.
Alarmingly, consumers currently have no way to know whether the food they’re eating was produced with GMOs, unless they’re labeled GMO-free on the manufacturer’s own accord.
In a recent national poll by the Mellman Group, nearly 90 percent of Americans said it was important to know if the foods they purchased contained genetically engineered ingredients but it’s been a difficult battle in Congress to enact any change.