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Will We Learn

By Paul Rutkovsky

We can still get some comfort knowing that food labeled USDA Organic cannot be genetically modified. In the last article you learned that the USDA gave the green light to genetically altered alfalfa and sugar beets. However, most people don’t know that products containing genetically modified (GM) sugar aren’t labeled, neither are all the foods with ingredients made from GM corn, soy, cotton and canola, and milk produced with the use of genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH). That’s a growing list getting longer every month without any laboratory testing. We, the general food consuming public, have become the experiment. The USDA essentially is a rogue federal agency, allowing industrial farming and genetic engineering corporations to invent new products for the unknowing consumer.

Maybe we can learn by example from a group in Wetteren, Belgium, who are not going to let genetic plant experimentation continue in open-air crop fields. On May 29, 2011, the Belgian Field Liberation Movement (FLM), an informal collective consisting of farmers, scientists, consumers, environmental activists, and protesters climbed over a high fence and pulled up GM potato plants—40 people were arrested. The non-violent direct action had been announced in advance with the FLM saying they planned to remove the GM potatoes and replant the field with non-GM, blight-resistant potatoes in a peaceful and public manner.

Ten years of engineering and research money went into developing the so-called ‘DURPH-potato,’ which is designed to be resistant to Phytophtora, a potato disease. Most consumers do not want to eat GM food, but this GM potato is intended for human consumption. Without applying the precautionary principle, field tests in the open-air now take place in Wetteren, although risks for people and the environment are unknown and unpredictable. Opponents claim we don’t need GM crops, “what we need is sustainable agriculture that contributes to food sovereignty and safety, to biodiversity and a stable climate.”

Unfortunately, genetically modified plant experimentation has been the norm in the United States for many years. The “precautionary principle” is not applied, and most new genetically modified plants are introduced into open-air fields where other neighboring organic or conventional crops can be contaminated. If the new GMO passes the taste test and no one becomes ill immediately, the product is fast tracked into production and ready for consumer consumption. This is NOT a highly regulated industry.

All information for this article came from the following sources.

Alliance for Bio-Integrity
www.biointegrity.org

Organic Consumers Association
www.organicconsumers.org

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