Topics selected by Jim Helfter, CEO of Advanced Biological Concepts®
Monday, March 3, 2014
Tell the USDA: “Coexistence” Isn’t GE Contamination Prevention
From the Center for Food Safety:
Right now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has opened a comment period on the so called “coexistence” of organic, conventional and genetically engineered crops, but the problem is that misses the point. It calls for “farmer education” to prevent GE contamination rather than the need for USDA to establish-mandatory GE contamination prevention measures. As usual, the agency’s proposal reads like it was written by the biotech industry. Despite acknowledging the very real threat to organic and non-GE farmers of contamination by genetically engineered crops, USDA’s recommendations would make a bad situation even worse.
USDA’s so-called “coexistence” plan fails to offer any protection for organic farmers and would institutionalize transgenic contamination in crops across the U.S. If implemented, the proposal would require the victims of contamination to buy insurance or pay into a fund to compensate themselves for unwanted contamination, lost markets and other damages. This is simply unacceptable. It is high time that USDA address the root causes of contamination by stopping gene flow and putting the burden for preventing contamination squarely on Monsanto and the other biotech companies. An immediate moratorium on the planting of any new GE crops must be established until tried and true mandatory contamination prevention measures are in place to protect organic and non-GE farmers.
Tell USDA this ill-conceived solution of penalizing the victim is fundamentally unjust and fails to address the root cause of the problem – transgenic contamination.
Docket No. APHIS-2013-0047-0001
I strongly oppose the AC21 recommendations on “coexistence” of conventional, organic and genetically engineered crops. Mandating GE contamination prevention measures is the only real solution.
USDA’s “coexistence” plan would institutionalize an allowable level of transgenic contamination in crops across the U.S. If implemented, the proposal would inappropriately require the victims of contamination – organic and conventional growers – to buy insurance or pay into a fund to compensate themselves for unwanted contamination, lost markets and other damages. This is simply unacceptable. Any scheme intended to compensate farmers for damages caused by GE contamination must first address the root causes of contamination by stopping gene flow and holding patent holders and those who profit from GE crops accountable for any contamination.
USDA should scrap any proposal that relies on “voluntary” “prevention through education,” which wrongly and unfairly puts the burden for contamination prevention and redress on the victims of contamination. Instead we urge USDA to:
1. Institute a moratorium on the planting of any new GE crops until a set of mandated best practices to prevent GE contamination are implemented by all farmers who use GE seed.
2. Initiate immediate, mandatory action to prevent further GE contamination of our seed supply.
3. Hold those who own, promote, and profit from GE products liable for the economic, market, and social harms cause by their products, and establish a mandatory process whereby the patent holder pays compensation for GE contamination they fail to prevent.