One of our most popular posts has been our Q&A with former Stonyfield CEO and organic food crusader Gary Hirshberg. A substantial part of our interview revolved around a new kind of genetically modified corn designed to withstand harsher chemical treatment. Opponents (like Hirshberg) have taken to calling it “Agent Orange corn.” At the time we talked with Hirshberg, it was a well-known issue among natural food activists and environmentalist-types, but mainstream coverage was a bit sparse. Now, Lucia Graves of the HuffingtonPost writes that opposition to this new breed of corn has intensified:
“A new kind of genetically modified crop under the brand name of ‘Enlist’ — known by its critics as ‘Agent Orange corn’ — has opponents pushing U.S. regulators to scrutinize the product more closely and reject an application by Dow AgroSciences to roll out its herbicide-resistant seeds.
The corn has been genetically engineered to be immune to 2,4-D, an ingredient used in Agent Orange that some say could pose a serious threat to the environment and to human health. Approval by the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency would allow farmers to spray it far and wide without damaging their crops, boosting productivity for the agribusiness giant…
More than 140 advocacy groups have participated in a letter writing campaign calling on U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reject Dow’s regulatory application for the herbicide and herbicide-resistant crops, submitting more than 365,000 missives ahead of a public comment period that ends April 27.”
Graves’ piece is well worth the read. It digs into the back-and-forth between DowAgrosciences and activists about the economic, environmental, and health implications of planting this corn, and the very nickname “Agent Orange corn.”