Take Two for March 29, 2013

Critics protest President Obama's 'protection' of Monsanto

Activists Protests Against The Agriculture Industry's Lobby Influence Over Congress

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Activists protest against agricultural biotech company Monsanto outside the White House on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Monsanto, which engineers genetically modified seeds, recently benefited from a section buried in the latest budget bill that allows the agribusiness giant to plant genetically-modified crops without judicial review to determine whether or not their crops are safe.

On Tuesday, President Obama signed into a law the spending bill Congress had approved last Friday, but his swipe of the pen sparked protests outside the White House. 

Part of the reason for the clamor was a provision that protects agricultural biotech firms, like Monsanto, from lawsuits over possible health risks posed by crops that started as GMO, or genetically engineered seeds. Opponents have gone as far as calling the bill the Monsanto Protection Act. 

Some groups like the Center for Food Safety have directed their anger toward Congress for approving a bill including language that did not get reviewed by agricultural or judicial committees. 

Here to explain is Bill Lambrecht, the Washington bureau chief for the St Louis Post-Dispatch. He's also the author of, "Dinner at the New Gene Cafe: How Genetic Engineering Is Changing What We Eat, How We Live, and the Global Politics of Food."

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