Washington, D.C.—A controversial provision that critics named the “Monsanto Protection Act” was stopped in its tracks when it was removed from the spending resolution Congress was engrossed with in late September. U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) successfully pushed to have the item in question, Sec. 735, removed from the Senate version of the bill. The provision was set to expire at the end of September 2013.
Since even before it was placed in the continuing resolution in March, many opposed the measure, which they interpreted as denying federal courts the right to halt the sale and planting of genetically modified (GM) seeds while the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reviewing their safety. In fact, the provision dictated that the Secretary of Agriculture must allow temporary permits and deregulation of GM crops during these review periods. “This is a major victory for the food movement and all those who care about openness and transparency in their government,” wrote Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now, in a statement.
The official title of the provision is the “Farmer Assurance Provision,” referring to the notion that it protects farmers who had planned to plant GM seed from companies like Monsanto.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2013 (online 10/2/13)