Posts Tagged ‘Science’
BY CAREY GILLAM, Reuters
Are US regulators dropping the ball when it comes to biocrops?
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI — Robert Kremer, a US government microbiologist who studies Midwestern farm soil, has spent two decades analyzing the rich dirt that yields billions of bushels of food each year and helps the US retain its title as breadbasket of the world.
India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, blocked the release of a genetically modified eggplant made by Monsanto. — Reuters
Mr. Kremer’s lab is housed at the University of Missouri and is literally in the shadow of Monsanto Auditorium, named after the $11.8-billion-a-year agricultural giant Monsanto Co. Based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, the company has accumulated vast wealth and power creating chemicals and genetically altered seeds for farmers worldwide.
But recent findings by Mr. Kremer and other agricultural scientists are raising fresh concerns about Monsanto’s products and the Washington agencies that oversee them. The same seeds and chemicals spread across millions of acres of US farmland could be creating unforeseen problems in the plants and soil, this body of research shows.
Mr. Kremer, who works for the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is among a group of scientists who are turning up potential problems with glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and the most widely used weed-killer in the world.
“This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” said Mr. Kremer, who expressed alarm that regulators were not paying enough attention to the potential risks from biotechnology on the farm, including his own research.
Concerns range from worries about how nontraditional genetic traits in crops could affect human and animal health to the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.