Protecting Organic Agriculture from
What are genetically-modified organisms?
The NOSB defines “genetically engineered” as “made with techniques that alter the molecular or cell biology of an organism by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes. Genetic engineering includes recombinant DNA, cell fusion, micro- and macro-encapsulation, gene deletion and doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the position of genes. It shall not include breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in-vitro fertilization and tissue culture.”
Why does the Organic Trade Association object to GMOs?
GMOs have demonstrated ecological problems and potential human health risks. The use of GMOs such as Bt crops hurts organic farming. Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, a micro-organism which produces a pesticide. Organic farmers use Bt responsibly, in small quantities, and in its natural state. The widespread use of Bt genes will lead to insect resistance.
GMOs are prohibited in organic agriculture
GMOs have never been allowed in organic agriculture. GMOs are synthetic materials, made by a synthetic process, and these are not allowed in organic agriculture. And GMOs are unnecessary for producing high-quality foods which consistently bring high prices.
OTA has many concerns about GMOs in agriculture
The health and environmental effects of GMOs are so little known and of such great potential damage that it is prudent not to market GMO products until there are rigorous, scientific, longitudinal studies which address a wide variety of concerns, including human health risks, pest resistance, and the fundamental integrity of our ecological environment.
GMOs have already contaminated organic commodities. Genetic trespass of GMOs occurs when modified genes drift from the varieties into which they are inserted into other plants, such as Bt corn pollen fertilizing organic corn. Once the results of this technology are in the field, they cannot be controlled, jeopardizing the integrity of organic products and the ability of organic farmers to meet strict organic standards.
Please ask your congressman to consider taking the following actions:
Urge the EPA not to re-register Bt corn as a biopesticide, or at least to set conditions which addess the following concerns:
Bt corn should not be re-registered because 1) its pollen kills beneficial insects in the field, as shown by Iowa State University; 2) refuges, or “refugia,” don’t work as expected, as shown by the effect of Bt on mating cycles of the bollworm in Arizona, and perhaps most important ecologically; 3) resistance will develop quickly once Bt is widely used, also depriving farmers of one of the most potent biological controls known.
Support Congressman’s Kucinich’s bill to label foods that contain GMOs.
This will allow consumers to make an informed choice, a necessary condition of a free market.