This past week the US Department of Agriculture gave an official thumbs up to the "unrestricted planting" of genetically modified alfalfa produced by Monsanto. The approval has many in the food community upset because alfalfa is one of the main components of the dairy cow diet. That fact coupled with alfalfa's ability to spread like wildfire (it's considered "notoriously promiscuous") is putting the organic dairy industry in a tough spot.
The USDA does not allow GMOs in organic labeled products, and by allowing the GMO alfalfa into the wild the USDA is putting organic dairy farmers in a difficult position. Many experts believe that the GMO alfalfa will soon be everywhere, making it impossible to produce organic dairy.
"This creates a perplexing situation when the market calls for a supply of crops free of genetic engineering," says Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association. "[C]onsumers will not tolerate the accidental presence of genetic engineered materials in organic products, yet [genetically engineered] crops continue to proliferate unchecked."