Can't We All Just Get Along? The Myth of GMO and Organic Coexistence


Photo: Derbyshire/Staffordshire

Lately, the USDA is progressively siding with biotechnology instead of the organic food movement. Organic farming had a few wins including the decision from US District Court Judge Jeffrey White who ruled that the GMO crops be destroyed because the risk of gene contamination in Oregon's Willamette Valley was so great. But last week a ruling made clear that things were again moving in the wrong direction. Tom Vilsack even admitted to concern about the mixing of GMO and organic crops but he seemed to go back on that statement last week when the USDA announced that farmers will be allowed to grow genetically modified sugar beets this season, "while [the USDA] finishes work on a full environmental impact statement on the beets' effect on other crops and the environment." What? If you even think there may be a problem, why would you continue to make it worst?

Vilsack tried to quell the fury of the sustainable food movement with a call for coexistence. The plan would have included buffers and even geographic restrictions between organic and GMO crops. But in no time at all according to Civil Eats the plan seemed to lose steam because of the risk of the Obama Administration appearing anti-business. Axelrod was even quoted encouraging "everyone to 'plow forward' on a plan for genetically produced alfalfa ," as he left his position as Obama's top political advisor.

But even still the Organic Consumers Association made clear that it's all a myth anyway because once crops are contaminated there's just no turning back. Tainting of organic crops cannot be undone and at the risk of ending up like we did with corn where you can rarely find purely organic corn in the U.S. because of GMOs, it's a slippery and scary slope to start down.

According to the Organic Consumer Association:

There are also potential risks to biodiversity arising from gene flow and toxicity to nontarget organisms from herbicide-resistant (HT) and insect-resistant (Bt) crops. Unless whole regions are declared GM agriculture free, the development of distinct systems of agriculture (GM and non-GM) will be impossible.

More on GMOs
What the Deregulation of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Means for Organic Consumers
Why Other Countries Are Scared of GMOs and We're Not
How Did a Genetically Modified Potato Gain Approval in Europe?
The New GMO Debate: Genetically Engineered Organic Crops
5 of the Newest and Craziest Genetically Modified Foods (3 Are Animals)

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