The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced its decision to grant non-regulated status for alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide commercially known as Roundup.
"After conducting a thorough and transparent examination of alfalfa through a multi-alternative environmental impact statement (EIS) and several public comment opportunities, APHIS has determined that Roundup Ready (RR) alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. "All of the alfalfa production stakeholders involved in this issue have stressed their willingness to work together to find solutions. We greatly appreciate and value the work they've done so far and will continue to provide support to the wide variety of sectors that make American agriculture successful."
After releasing a final EIS in December 2010, USDA took another step to ensure that this issue received the broadest examination before making its final decision. USDA brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss feasible strategies for coexistence between biotech, organic and other non-biotech stakeholders. The stakeholders helped identify areas of consensus; issues where the group disagreed and opportunities for further dialogue exist; and areas where USDA could – or should – play an important and helpful role.
In response to the request for support from its stakeholders, USDA is taking a number of steps, including:
More information on these areas of support USDA will provide outside of the regulatory arena is available in a PDF download.
APHIS' deregulation of Roundup ready alfalfa will become effective upon publication of the Agency's determination of non-regulated status in the Federal Register. USDA's Record of Decision on RR alfalfa is available to the public.