While the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company enjoys a relatively pristine reputation because of its prominent placement at home and garden centers across the country, few people realize that they are one of Monsanto’s biggest corporate partners.
The company signed a $300 million extension to its partnership with Monsanto in 2015 to bring Monsanto’s controversial glyphosate-containing Roundup weedkiller to new sectors of the industry.
Now, the company is hard at work with plans to unveil its latest project: “Roundup-Ready” GMO grass for use on lawns across the country.
Trials are already underway for the new grass, which is genetically engineered to be resistant to Roundup (including the probable human carcinogen glyphosate); it is expected to hit the market in approximately three years.
If the results of Scotts and Monsanto’s first foray into the world of GMO grass are any indication, things could get quite interesting.
Monsanto and Scotts Ready GMO Grass
In 1997, Scotts and Monsanto created a GMO grass for golf courses, one of the largest sectors for weedkillers like Roundup.
But the experiment was halted after the company’s GMO “creeping bentgrass” escaped field trials (much like GMO wheat recently did) and began to contaminate nearby fields, ending the chances for federal approval in 2006.
The incident resulted in a $500,000 fine and now the grass can still be found in parts of Oregon according to this article from the website EcoWatch.com.
Because of the ability of GMO plants like Scotts and Monsanto’s new grass to contaminate other non-GMO plants, as well as the harm that is being done to our health and the environment by Roundup and glyphosate, activist groups have been calling for a boycott of the new grass since its announcement (a petition from GMO Free USA aimed at a Home Depot and Lowe’s boycott has been closed; stay tuned for more info on further petitions).
Making matters even more difficult is that Scotts has been inserting new genes into the grass mechanically (rather than using bacteria to do so), a different style of genetic engineering that allows the companies to evade USDA regulation much like the new CRISPR gene editing techniques being used.
Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at the Consumers Union, said according to the Ecowatch article that the controversial grass could create a host of problems once unleashed into residential neighborhoods, problems that regulators are refusing to examine.
“They are using a technical loophole so that what are clearly genetically engineered crops and organisms are escaping regulation,” Hansen said to the New York Times last year. The plants “can have all sorts of ecological impact and no one is required to look at it,” he added.
For more information on the possible impacts of the new Roundup-Ready genetically engineered grass, check out the full article by clicking here.
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