Genetically Engineered Safety Act: The New Food Safety Bill?

Peter Blanchard/CC BY 1.0

Initiatives like the Non-GMO Project have been working to educate consumers about the risks that come with genetically-modified crops, which are now in at least 70 percent of the processed foods in this country. There are risks to human health and there's the contamination of neighboring farms, and some have taken to the courts—which are starting to listen.

Now, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich has announced legislation that would prohibit the open-air cultivation of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in pharmaceutical and industrial crops. The Genetically Engineered Safety Act is intended to prevent, according to a press release from Kucinich's office, biological contamination of our food supply. It would "also establish a tracking system to regulate the growing, handling, transportation, and disposal of pharmaceutical and industrial crops."

More from the Kucinich statement:

The Department of Agriculture has allowed more than 300 outdoor field trials of plants—including feed crops including corn, soybeans, rice, safflower, barley, alfalfa, mustard greens, peas, sugarcane, tomatoes, and wheat—which are genetically engineered to produce experimental pharmaceuticals, industrial enzymes and novel proteins. Those GE substances are not intended to be incorporated into food or to be spread into the environment or our food supply. Yet there are examples of such contamination, with enormously destructive consequences.

Without addressing open-air cultivation, there's nothing stopping GMO crops from spreading further and there's little way to know just how far they are advancing. Kucinich said, "Experimental pharmaceutical drugs are being grown in this country in the open, allowing them to contaminate conventional crops without detection. We cannot rely on industry to prevent the unintended spread of genetically engineered organisms."

Tags: Agriculture | Food Safety | Food Security | Genetically Modified Food | Genetic Engineering

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