Information
 

We've compiled extensive information about a variety of topics surrounding the risk of genetic contamination of organic agriculture.

Genetically engineered crops: A threat to organic farmers
Mexican corn contamination
Monsanto vs. Percy Schmeiser
Genetically engineered wheat
Farmers fight back
Tips for organic farmers
Health food companies and co-ops take action


Genetically engineered crops: A threat to organic farmers

Modified pollen hits organic farms / Genetically altered strains spread by wind -- Toronto Star, September 30, 2002. "Biotech proponents said it couldn't happen. Critics warned it was just a matter of time. Now the nightmare scenario of many farmers seems to have hit Ontario."

Organic food producers battle higher prices, cross contamination -- AP story, June 7, 2003 (PDF file)

Organics threatened: Contaminated seed, GMO drift -- Midwest Natural Foods Coop, May/June 2002. "Consumers seeking food uncontaminated by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may find it increasingly scarce and costly in the future."

UK Soil Association on genetic drift -- March 2, 1999. "Evidence that pollen from genetically modified crops can cause contamination over considerable distances has emerged in a new report. ‘The Dispersal of Maize Pollen’ by Dr Jean Emberlin, Director of the National Pollen Research Unit (1), was commissioned by the Soil Association to establish hard scientific data on the risks posed to the integrity of organically grown maize and sweetcorn from cross-pollination by genetically modified crops."

EU: Genetically engineered crops raise costs, says suppressed study -- Environment News Service, May 21, 2002. "Farmers would face higher, and in some cases unsustainable, production costs if genetically engineered crops were commercially grown on a large scale basis in Europe, according to a secret European Union study leaked to Greenpeace. The study, "Co-existence in European Agriculture," predicts that the situation would become critical for organic farming of staple foods such as oilseed rape as well as for intensive production of potatoes and conventional maize, or corn."

U.S. organic corn chips exported to Britain are found to be contaminated by genetically engineered corn -- Genetic Food Alert campaign press release, April 2, 1999.

Study warns of genetic contamination by thousands of U.S. field tests -- U.S. PIRG press release, June 14, 2001. "The report, Raising Risk: Field Testing of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S., documents for the first time the extent of field testing of genetically engineered crops in the U.S and highlights the potential risks associated with the release of genetically engineered plants into the environment."

Growing evidence of widespread GMO contamination -- Environmental Science and Technology journal, Dec. 1, 1999. "Now that millions of tests have been conducted in response to escalating worldwide concern over genetically modified organisms (GMOs)in food, it is
increasingly clear that GMO contamination of conventionally grown food is a serious issue. Ultimately, it may trigger legal action."

Organic farmers struggle to keep crops from chemical contamination -- Kansas City Star, Aug. 22, 1999. "It's coming at me from every direction," said the 62-year-old organic farmer. "I've got nowhere to hide."

As biotech crops multiply, consumers get little choice -- New York Times, June 10, 2001. "Despite persistent concerns about genetically modified crops, they are spreading so rapidly that it has become almost impossible for consumers to avoid them, agriculture experts say."

VPIRG test finds genetic contamination of organic corn / Contamination spells trouble for Vermont organic farmers -- Dec. 18, 2003. VPIRG Environmental Advocate Ben Davis said, "The presence of this gene indicates contamination from Bt corn pollen. Unintentional contamination from GMO crops is now a reality in Vermont, and unless stopped, could spell
the beginning of the end for organic agriculture in Vermont."

North Dakota organic farmers worry about biotech contamination -- Cropchoice News, Feb. 6, 2001. "Farmer Jeff Dewald is no fan of genetically engineered crops. 'I don't think gmo (genetically modified organisms) is a good thing at all,' says Dewald, who organically grows rye, oats, wheat, flax, and other crops on 2,300 acres in south central North Dakota. He is also president of chapter 1 of the Organic Crop Improvement Association. 'I think they should do more research before they go around polluting Mother Nature. The big issue is not what it does, it's what we don't know. That's why I feel there should be nothing less than 25 years of research.'

Organic grower will keep certification -- Western Producer (Canada), Sept. 4, 2003. "A Saskatchewan organic farmer who found volunteer genetically modified canola in his field likely won't lose his certification if he can prove the offending plants have been removed."

Organic growers fear GM contamination -- Western Producer (Canada), June 1, 2000. "
Organic growers say incidents like the recent genetically modified canola seed debacle are crushing their industry. 'The ramifications are extremely negative and serious,' said grower Stewart Wells, who is also the Saskatchewan director of the National Farmers Union."

Imagine a world without brown rice -- Amber Waves article by author Alex Jack, 2001. "Like other altered crops, GE rice may release engineered pollen, seed, pesticides, toxins, bacteria, viruses, or other GE organisms (GEOs) into the environment that can crossbreed with or contaminate ordinary crops. To date, thousands of acres of organic crops have been contaminated by GE corn, rapeseed, and other crops."

Fast track to genetic contamination -- Maine Sunday Telegram, June 3, 2001. "Farmers - and the public - may soon learn there's no turning back on genetically modified foods as the hemisphere hurtles toward another ill-considered trade pact."

EU study finds GE and non-GE crops cannot co-exist -- Greenpeace press release, May 16, 2002. " secret EU study leaked to Greenpeace states that all farmers would face high additional, in some cases unsustainable costs of production if genetically engineered (GE) crops were commercially grown in a large scale in Europe. The study predicts that the situation would become particularly critical for organic farming of oilseed rape as well as for intensive production of conventional maize."


Mexican corn contamination

Mexico's GM corn shocks scientists -- The Guardian (UK), Nov. 29, 2001. Researchers are baffled as ancient variety of maize tests positive for modified organisms in area where no engineered crops are grown

Seeds of destruction: Genetic contamination raises stakes on GMOs -- In These Times, March 17, 2002. "The discovery sent alarms through the scientific community: Mexico banned the use of such corn in 1998. Scientists say it provides yet more evidence that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cannot be controlled once they are released into the environment. The discovery is especially significant because the contamination occurred in the ancestral homeland of corn. "

Mexican scientists confirm corn contamination -- San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 26, 2002. "Scientists in Mexico City may have confirmed one finding by a University of California at Berkeley scientist who caused an international furor last year when he reported finding traces of bioengineered corn in native Mexican maize. "


Monsanto vs. Percy Schmeiser

Commentary: Monsanto vs. Schmeiser -- Bar Notes (quarterly publication of Canadian Bar Association, June 2001, column by Professor Martin Phillipson, College of Law, University fo Saskatchewan

Percy faces the Goliath of GM canola -- Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 5, 2002. "The new age of genetically modified crops is moving so fast it's hard to keep up. The ABC's Environment Reporter, Sarah Clarke, discovered that as some Australian farmers face crunch time, a Canadian farmer named Percy is facing off against GM's Goliath."


Genetically modified wheat

Campaign Against Genetically Modified Wheat -- A program of the Organic Consumers Association.

Organic farms 'in danger from weak rules on GM crops' -- PA News (UK), Jan. 13, 2000. "Government backed rules will fail to protect organic farms from contamination by genetically modified pollen spread from crop trials, it was claimed today. An independent study commissioned by the Soil Association warns of the risk that organic plants contaminated by genetically modified organisms could be eaten or grown."


Farmers fight back

Organic farmers say report backs fears -- Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan), June 28, 2002. "Saskatchewan organic farmers who are suing two biotechnology giants claim they have new evidence that contamination from genetically modified (GM) canola has wiped out their organic canola market."

Property rights activists against GM contamination -- The Progress Report, 2003, article by Dan Hamburg. "A citizens' initiative to ban the "propagation, cultivation, raising, and growing of genetically modified organisms" in Mendocino County, California, was officially certified today, announced County Clerk Marsha Wharff. Proponents gathered more than 4,000 signatures of county voters to qualify the measure. 'We're ready to take this to the people,' said Els Cooperrider of the Mendocino Organic Network. 'Why should the biotech corporations control our local food supply?' she said. 'If Monsanto has its way, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will cause irreversible harm to the economy and the environment of our county. It's up to the citizens to protect our property rights from unwanted GMOs.'"

GE legislation: Maine leads the way -- "In May, 2001, "An Act to Protect Against Contamination of Crops and Wild Plant Populations by Genetically Engineered Plants," was signed into Maine law." From the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

Farmers fight to save organic crops -- The Progressive, September 2001. "For the last four years, Nebraska organic farmer David Vetter has been testing his corn for a new kind of pollution. Situated right in the middle of corn country, Vetter's 280-acre farm is small compared to those of his neighbors. All around him are farmers growing genetically modified corn. And that poses a problem. Corn is an open-pollinating crop. Wind and insects can carry pollen from a few yards to several miles."

Testimony presented to the North Dakota Senate Agriculture Committee -- from Theresa Podoll, organic farmer and Executive Director of Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, March 9, 2001. "I am here in support of HB 1338 because the farmers who have grown this industry and have made us a leader in the organic industry have grave concerns over transgenic crops. Organic producers, like conventional producers, have suffered from loss of markets due to contamination issues. Many organic producers have removed corn and canola from their rotations because of the risk of contamination by transgenic pollen."

Canadian organic farmers sue Monsanto for genetic pollution -- Independent dispatch, Jan. 11, 2002, Don Kossick, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. "History was being made on January 10th when two Saskatchewan organic farmers, Larry Hoffman and Dale Beaudoin, filed a class action against Monsanto and Aventis on behalf of all certified organic farmers. in Saskatchewan. The class suit seeks compensation for damages caused by Monsanto and Aventis genetically engineered canola, and an injunction to prevent Monsanto from introducing
GE Wheat in Saskatchewan."


Tips for organic farmers

How organic farmers can minimize GE contamination: 10 strategies -- by James A. Riddle, Organic Independents, Winona, MN. "Since it will soon be planting season, organic, transitional, and non-GMO crop farmers need to know steps they can take to minimize risks of GMO contamination. The following list, which has been distributed nationwide, outlines some strategies that farmers can employ to minimize risks."

Preventing GMO contamination: Things you can do! -- from the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society.

Is your organic farm safe? Protecting your crops from genetic contamination -- Acres USA, Jan. 30, 2000. (PDF file.) "The impact of genetic drift can affect my farm, my planting plans, my certification, my income — not on just a few rows, but possibly on many acres. The scariest part of this reality is that the farmer won’t know if contamination has occurred until its too late, and then there is relatively little he can do to prevent it."


Health food companies and co-ops take action

French Bread Food Coop in Asheville, N.C.

Eden Foods creates a sustainable system for organic, GEO free corn -- Press release, March 6, 2002. "Eden Foods, together with their business associates, has successfully completed a three year project to secure a permanent supply of organic corn that is free of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs)."

Nature's Path press release on genetic contamination