We've compiled extensive information about a
variety of topics surrounding the risk of genetic
contamination of organic agriculture.
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
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."
food producers battle higher prices, cross contamination
-- AP story, June 7, 2003 (PDF file)
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."
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
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."
organic corn chips exported to Britain are found
to be contaminated by genetically engineered corn
-- Genetic Food Alert campaign press release,
April 2, 1999.
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."
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."
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."
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."
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,
the beginning of the end for organic agriculture
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.'
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."
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
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."
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."
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."
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
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. "
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. Schmeiser -- Bar Notes (quarterly
publication of Canadian Bar Association, June
2001, column by Professor Martin Phillipson, College
of Law, University fo Saskatchewan
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
Against Genetically Modified Wheat -- A program
of the Organic Consumers Association.
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 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."
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
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
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."
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."
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."
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
GMO contamination: Things you can do! -- from
the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society.
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."
Bread Food Coop in Asheville, N.C.
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
Path press release on genetic contamination