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Organic Consumers Association

The Myth of "Co-Existence" Between Organic and GMO Crops: USDA Panel Gets Altered-Crops Pay Plan

  For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, and our California News page.

Washington -- California voters this fall will decide a ballot measure that would require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered material. But the Department of Agriculture is already tied in knots over how to deal with the contamination of organic and conventional foods by biotech crops.

On Monday, a USDA advisory panel will consider a draft plan to compensate farmers whose crops have been contaminated by pollen, seeds or other stray genetically engineered material. The meeting is expected to be contentious, pitting the biotechnology and organic industries against each other.

The draft report acknowledged the difficulty of preventing such material from accidentally entering the food supply and concerns that the purity of traditional seeds may be threatened.

It also cited fears on both sides that official action to address contamination could send a signal to U.S. consumers and export markets in Europe, Japan and elsewhere that the purity and even safety of U.S. crops are suspect.

An official who was not authorized to speak for the record described the current stalemate as "don't ask, don't tell."



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