Just Label It Calls on Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Deny Approval of 2,4-D Resistant Corn

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 28, 2012) –  Citing the human and environmental health risks of 2,4-D, an ingredient in the notorious Vietnam era defoliant “Agent Orange,” the national Just Label It (JLI) coalition called on Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack to deny approval of genetically engineered (GE) 2,4-D resistant corn.

“Corn may be as American as apple pie, but if it’s genetically engineered it may jeopardize both human and environmental health. It needs to be labeled,” said David Bancroft, JLI Executive Director.  “We urge Secretary Vilsack to work to to ensure that GE crops are thoroughly researched and safe before they go on the market. It’s in the best interest of all Americans, including our farmers.  It’s the right thing to do.”

In a letter to Secretary Vilsack, Bancroft noted that 2,4-D poses health threats to consumers, and its use will only proliferate if 2,4-D resistant corn is approved. Studies have linked the herbicide to reproductive abnormalities, birth defects, liver dysfunction and Parkinson’s disease and several forms of cancer.  Approval of 2,4-D corn could lead to an additional 50% increase in herbicide use per acre, studies show, just as the approval of previous herbicide resistant crops have increased the use of the herbicides exponentially.

Rushing to approve 2,4-D without proper testing is similar to the path taken to bring  Round Up ready corn to market.  Now ten years later, French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini  found that Round Up Ready corn produced tumors and multiple organ damage in laboratory rats.  Criticism of his study raised issues concerning the original industry-generated studies used to gain GE food approvals, e.g., access to the GE seeds needed for this research has been restricted by the GE seeds’ patent holders. Dr. Seralini had to smuggle seeds out of Canada to France in order to conduct his research.

“Sufficient testing on the long-term effects of GE foods has never been conducted.  The notion that USDA will approve 2,4-D resistant corn without proper testing is irresponsible and a disservice to American consumers,” warned Bancroft.  He noted that Americans deserve the same right to know about their food as citizens in more than 50 nations worldwide, including the European Union, India and China, where GE foods are already labeled.

JLI spearheaded the drive to get 1.2 million signatures on a F.D.A. petition for mandatory federal GE foods labeling. For further information, sign the petition, or view JLI’s new celebrity video, go to www.justlabelit.org, or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.


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