Groups Want Farmers Assurance Provision Out of Stopgap Spending Measure

A coalition of more than 100 food safety groups, organic farmers and other organizations want a provision that's been dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act stripped from the spending bill designed to keep the government running after September 30th. They say the Farmers Assurance Provision would undermine the judicial branch by stripping federal courts of their authority to stop sales and planting of genetically modified crops. According to the groups - the provision sets a dangerous precedent for congressional intervention in the judiciary. They further argue that the provision could threaten food safety in the U.S. and the stability of export markets. They cite the fallout that followed the discovery of an unauthorized genetically engineered wheat in an Oregon field - including Japan and South Korea's immediate suspension of U.S. white wheat exports. Monsanto has previously stated that the point of the provision - as the company understands it - is to strike a careful balance allowing farmers to continue to plant and cultivate their crops subject to appropriate environmental safeguards while USDA conducts any necessary further environmental reviews.

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