retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) “is considering imposing restrictions for the first time on where and how a genetically modified crop may be grown, in a move that could eventually affect a wide swath of the farm industry.”

According to the story, “The USDA is considering approving the use of genetically modified alfalfa, a forage crop grown to feed livestock, but with limitations aimed at assuring that gene-altered crops don't contaminate fields of non-biotech crops, according to USDA officials. The new limitations could be particularly important to organic farmers, whose sales depend on assuring consumers that their products aren't artificially engineered, among other things ... The new approach would take some of the concerns of opponents of bioengineered crops into account but leave the USDA with flexibility to support the biotech industry.”

The Journal notes that “Russell Williams, a director for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said planting restrictions on government-approved genetically modified crops would just add unnecessary burdens to farmers.”
KC's View:
This strikes me - admittedly a civilian with almost no knowledge of farming practices - as a good idea ... because it doesn’t make sense to create a system that would blur the differences between GMO and non-GMO products. Of course, it also strikes me that this may be a shift in public policy, since it wasn’t that long ago that the government seemed top be saying that there was no difference between the two, which is why regulators have not insisted on labeling accuracy, transparency and comprehensiveness.