No regulation for biotech grass

Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 | 0 comments

In policy news: the Department of Agriculture decided this week that it doesn’t need to regulate a new, genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass. The grass is resistant to glyphosphate, so it will be a boon to homeowners who will be able to spray their yards with Round-Up to get rid of pesky dandelions.

USDA didn’t say that this grass poses no risks–it only said that this isn’t under their jurisdiction. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) only regulates GM crops with genetic code from microbes or potential pests. What does this mean for farmers who may soon find Round-Up resistant grasses growing as weeds among their crops? Unfortunately, no one knows; this grass isn’t actually under anyone‘s jurisdiction; the “Coordinated Framework” that regulates biotech in the U.S. includes many different offices at the USDA, EPA, and FDA, none of which cares about this grass.

No matter how you feel about GM crops, you’ve got to admit that it’s a little scary that Scott is going to put an untested, unregulated crop on the market that unknowing customers will be only too happy to plant in their front lawns…

For more on biotech/transgenic crops, check out this post.