We’ve been warning about GM contamination risks for a while at Natural Society, but the USDA doesn’t seem to want to contain the issue. This, while three major countries jointly issue a warning that genetically modified organisms pose too large a risk for contaminating other plants. This follows the EUs recent authorization of 17 new GMOs meant for animal feed and human consumption.
The contamination risk looms large since even unapproved GM crops have been found growing where they shouldn’t be. One strain of genetically modified wheat was discovered in Oregon several years ago. The Roundup Ready strain was nixed in 2005 when global resistance to Monsanto forced the company to stop working on it. It was never approved for use, let along growing and exporting, but there it was growing in the middle of the US.
Civil society organizations from Canada, Australia, and Japan visited Europe’s GMO-FREE EUROPE Conference 2015 in Berlin 6-8th May, carrying this warning. Jessica Harrison, Coordinator of the GM-Free Australia Alliance (GMFAA), said:
“Learn the lessons from our countries – GMO is not worth the risk. If it’s allowed, you will have GMO contamination of non-GM crops and nearby land for many years to come. GM canola was first grown commercially in 2008 in Australia. We find GM canola weeds on roadsides, truck spillages have dispersed GM seeds, and GM pollen has contaminated honey. GM-free Tasmania is still eradicating weeds from GM crops´ trials in the late 90s.”
Australia has also been the backdrop for a highly publicized lawsuit over GM crop contamination. Natural Society recently reported that Monsanto secretly aided the GM farmer in his legal defense to win against Steve Marsh, who lost his organic certification and was told by a federal court that he was going to have to pay his opponent for his organic crops being contaminated with GM pollen! The issue is still in court after an appeal and is as yet unresolved.
Approximately 20 years ago, Canada started growing GM canola (also called rapeseed). Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, expressed similar concerns over cross-pollination:
“Organic grain farmers in Canada have largely stopped growing canola because of GM contamination. For most farmers, it is no longer possible to grow, sell and export organic canola.”
Can you say – M.O.N.O.P.O.L.Y? That’s the game Monsanto, Dow, Syngent, etc are playing.
In Japan, citizens acted quickly when they found unwanted GM canola growing near their waterways and roadsides. Michiyo Koketsu from the NO! GMO Campaign in Japan, said:
“We do not grow any GM crops in our country. Unfortunately GM canola is imported and crushed here. GM weeds grown from spilt seeds are flourishing and out-crossing with plant relatives such as native rapeseed, mustard and broccoli. An ad hoc response from the Japanese authorities meant that citizens groups, at their own cost, tested and removed GM weeds to guard against further contamination.”
Even Europe wants non-GM canola for making oil, and this is ONE GM crop that has cross-pollinated viable, non-GM crops out of business.