By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 – Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., immediately welcomed Thursday's Department of Agriculture decision to deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa without restrictions. But she warns that “flaws in the current biotechnology regulatory system, caused by multiple lawsuits, must be addressed to provide certainty for industry investors, farmers and consumers.”

House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., commented that “Genetically engineered alfalfa has been subjected to an extensive multi-year review and the conclusion has always been the same: it’s safe. A product that has been repeatedly found to be safe should be deregulated. I am pleased that USDA used sound science and respected the limit of its statutory authority to make this decision.”

“I applaud the USDA’s decision to deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa, giving growers the green light to begin planting an abundant, affordable and safe crop,” Stabenow said. “While I’m glad this decision was guided by sound science, I’m concerned that USDA’s process creates too much uncertainty for our growers. Alfalfa was one of nearly two dozen genetically modified crops awaiting USDA evaluation and approval – a bottlenecked process that hinders growth and progress.”

Going forward, she said, “As incoming Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I’m committed to working with the USDA and stakeholders so that the system promotes safety, certainty, and efficiency. In the coming months, I will examine how we can promote a properly functioning, science-based system that promotes industry investment, growth and job creation while ensuring that consumers can count on safe and affordable products.”

For Stewart Doan's audio report on reactions, click HERE. Conventional alfalfa growers will go to court to reverse GE alfalfa deregulation. To read USDA's 17-page “Record of Decision” on Roundup Ready GE alfalfa, click HERE. For more on Vilsack's decision, click HERE. For details of the USDA deregulation plan, click HERE. Strong support comes from Sen. Dick Lugar.

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