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Organic Farmers Slam Genetically Modified Crop-Friendly USDA Report

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

Organic farmers and allies have slammed a USDA committee report for kowtowing to the interests of genetically modified crop growers and the biotechnology industry.

The goal of the USDA-appointed committee, the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21), was to address contamination by genetically modified (also known as genetically engineered, or GE) crops to organic and non-GE crops, and to look at compensation mechanisms for that contamination.

Reuters reports that "a majority of AC21 members did not agree on any type of compensation mechanism" for the non-GE growers in their report, leaving the responsibility with "the victim," not the perpetrator of the contamination.

The National Organic Coalition (NOC), an alliance of organizations involved in organic agriculture, condemned the report for "abdicat[ing] responsibility for preventing GE contamination, while making the victim of GE pollution pay for damages resulting from transgenic contamination."

"The AC21 report takes responsibility for GE contamination prevention out of the hands of USDA and the biotech industry where it belongs and puts it squarely on the backs of organic and non-GE farmers," said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director at Center for Food Safety and a NOC member. "This ill-conceived solution of penalizing the victim is fundamentally unjust and fails to address the root cause of the problem -- transgenic contamination."