A newly discovered pathogen, visible only under an electron microscope, is destroying plants and undermining the health of livestock, thereby posing a deadly risk to the U.S. food supply, a senior plant pathologist warned USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. In a January 2010 letter to Vilsack, (a former Iowa governor and agribusiness champion, appointed by President Obama), Dr. Don Huber advised caution in introducing additional GMO crops. But just weeks later, the USDA approved expansion of GMO crops to include alfalfa, the most widespread animal feed crop. The un-named bug already runs rampant in current GMO Roundup Ready baseline food crops (corn and soy), and spreads from there to the animals who feed on them, says Huber, a Professor Emeritus at Purdue University. In addition to his thirty-five years in academic science, Huber is also a retired Colonel, who evaluated natural and man-made biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks for the military.

The GMO Roundup Ready crops are designed to be used with the Monsanto herbicide, Roundup, a glyphosate that leads to severe micronutrient deficiencies in soil, that scientists now say are leading to increased crop failure. Scientists have detected a higher prevalence of the opportunistic pathogen in the depleted glyphosate treated soil. It is also found in higher rates in the livestock that feed off of the Roundup crops. Infertility and spontaneous abortion are on the rise within these cattle and dairy populations, with infertility at 20% and a 45% abortion incidence in certain animals. “It’s infectious to cattle, pigs, poultry and horses, and will kill a fertilized egg,” says Huber in one of a series of video interviews posted on YouTube. “It can readily reproduce, and it’s compatible with other organisms.” Watch video here: http://youtu.be/nzlwAAf9DRg

In his January 2011 letter Huber cautioned against expanding GMO into alfalfa, which he characterizes as “the Number One forage crop” that nourishes livestock. “Why place it in jeopardy?” Huber asked in the series of videos, predicting that “In five years you won’t have anything but Roundup Ready alfalfa. If we see a new organism which makes it a hazard to animal survival–what’s the urgency?”

Organic farmers have sued Monsanto pre-emptively to protect themselves from legal action from the GMO producer, when the GMO alfalfa contaminates organic seed, which cannot be prevented once GMO alfalfa is planted. Food Democracy Now is circulating a letter asking President Obama and Secretary Vilsack to “halt the sale and planting of Monsanto’s recently approved Roundup Ready® GMO alfalfa and sugar beets until independent, peer-reviewed studies can be conducted to determine whether or not these products pose a threat to plant, animal and human health.”

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