“After a decade of intensive genetically modified plant cultivation, weeds have emerged that are resistant to the most popular herbicide.
I was a member of the FDA Food Advisory Committee when the agency approved production of genetically modified foods in the early 1990s.
At the time, critics repeatedly warned that widespread planting of GM crops modified to resist Monsanto’s weed-killer, Roundup, were highly likely to select for “superweeds” that could withstand treatment with Roundup.
I wrote about this problem in Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety. I added this update to the 2010 edition:
Late in 2004, weeds resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup began appearing in GM plantings in Georgia and soon spread to other Southern states. By 2009, more than one hundred thousand acres in Georgia were infested with Roundup-resistant pigweed. Planters were advised to apply multiple herbicides, thereby defeating the point of Roundup: to reduce chemical applications.
Today, the idea that planting of GM crops is “widespread” is an understatement.
So, according to Reuters, is Roundup resistance….
“Notes from the Superweed Summit
Last week, the National Academy of Sciences hosted a summit to discuss “superweeds,” or the widespread problem of herbicide-resistant weeds currently afflicting millions of farm acres across the United States.
Superweeds — the “weeds that man can no longer kill!” — have been in the news for several years. All across the Midwest and Southeast farmers have been photographed and filmed standing in fields surrounded by the giant plants. They bemoan the cost of pesticides and point to industrial rows of crops that don’t have a chance when up against feisty weeds that grow up to three inches a day.
Superweeds have been especially likely to appear alongside genetically engineered (GE) crops, which are engineered to withstand large amounts of pesticide and herbicide use. And these weeds show no sign of going away any time soon.
That’s why scientists and researchers from land-grant universities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and representatives from several industry and trade groups met at last week’s summit to strategize about the problem….”