Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its decision deregulating (or approving) the Enlist corn, Enlist soybeans, and Enlist E3 soybean traits in the United States. The announcement concludes one of the most thorough reviews of a biotech trait in history.
Sadly, the EPA still has not registered Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion to the Enlist traits. Dow AgroSciences hopes for registration in the near future.
Illinois Corn Growers Association submitted comments to the USDA supporting the deregulation of the Enlist products and is happy that farmers will have more options for weed control in the future.
However, we remain concerned about the time USDA and EPA are taking to review these products and other traits and chemicals that farmers want to use. Yes, due diligence insures that the products are safe, both for humans and the environment. But how much research is too much? Where is the line when we accept what we have, make a decision, and move on?
IL Corn’s comments on both these products have always focused around using sound science to determine approval and registration. If science indicates that no harm will come to humans or environment from the use of these products, there is no reason to hold them ransom in the approval process. And, simply because of its longevity and history of use, 2-4D (the chemical in Enlist Duo) is one of the most studied chemicals in history.
Now it is partnered with the most reviewed biotech trait in history. Americans should feel good about the safety of these two, though I’m sure many activists will raise concerns. And in the meantime, while we fight about scientific evidence in America, these products are being approved in other countries much more expediently, leaving American farmers at a competitive disadvantage.
Thank you, USDA, for making the Enlist crops available to Illinois farmers this week. Thank you for paying attention to scientific evaluation when making a decision, and not catering to public, and very emotional options. Thank you for any pressure you can put on the EPA to do the same for their registration of Enlist Duo.
But the entire industry would be much better served if all our governmental agencies – USDA and EPA included – would simply look at the scientific evidence, make a reasonable decision, and move on without dragging their feet while trying not to upset an emotional public.