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Organics Under Threat? : Oregon County Weighs GMO Ban

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, and our Oregon News page.
Sugar beets containing genetically modified organisms are being grown in the Rogue Valley, much to the alarm of local organic farmers and food activists who on Monday formed "GMO-Free Jackson County" and vowed to press for a county ordinance prohibiting such crops.

About 50 people formed the organization after Chris Hardy, co-founder of the Organic Village Farm on Ashland's Siskiyou Boulevard, last week spread the word on social media.

Hardy said he had been in talks with Syngenta, a biotechnology corporation, about plans to plant genetically modified beets in several locations near Ashland. He said after his conversations, the company had agreed not to plant them.

But, he said, Syngenta AG, a giant corporation that operates in 90 countries, acknowledged it is growing genetically modified sugar beet seed in small plots on a total of 10 acres in the Medford and Grants Pass area.

Members of the opposing group expressed concern about possible negative health effects of genetically modified food, with Hardy noting that once bioengineered genes blend with natural genes "it's like a barb going in and you can't get it out."
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