Commentary: No contamination of organic crops by GMOs
According to the USDA's rules for organic production—written, edited and finalized by organic industry stakeholders—there is no such thing as contamination of an organic crop by genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And yet, supporters of Measure 15–119 to ban GMOs in Jackson County, Oregon, claim to be trying to protect organic farmers.
Read the standards. Organic farmers are not allowed to use GMOs; but since GMOs are perfectly safe, contact with them does not result in the decertification of an organic crop. Indeed, not a single organic crop in North America has ever been decertified due to contact with a GMO.
Activists claim GMOs don’t perform as advertised. But American farmers choose to grow them for the same reason European farmers wish they could grow them: decreased weed and pest pressure, increased yields, improved nutrition, reduced fuel consumption and reduced soil erosion.
So, why are organic activists so dead-set opposed to this new science? Simple, because GMOs deliver on everything the organic industry once promised. As such, the people who brought you certified-organic food in America that tests positive for prohibited pesticides a whopping 43 percent of the time, seek to ban GMOs from the face of American agriculture.
I grew up on an organic grain farm and became an organic inspector in 1998. I believed it was important to produce food that was pure and nutritious, while minimizing our impact on the land. But rather than pursue these goals that were once the backbone of the organic movement, an urbanized leadership replaced all the full-time farmers who used to run the organic movement, and launched a full-frontal assault on all forms of science-based farming, with genetic engineering in the forefront.
Many activists pretend that banning GMOs has nothing to do with advancing organics. But the National Director of The Organic Consumers Association, Ronnie Cummins (a vocal supporter of Measure 15–119), spells it all out: “The challenge will be to see if organic consumers, environmental organizations, farm activists, churches and public interest groups can begin making headway in the bigger battle— driving genetically engineered crops off the market all over the world.”
Still think Measure 15–119 has nothing to do with the self-serving aims of urban organic activists? If their way is better, why not prove it instead of trying to ban the competition?
To avoid providing an answer, some activists claim to be organic but not certified. But the rules of organic production apply to anyone who uses the term “organic.” This was done by organic stakeholders to prevent anyone from misusing the term. So, there’s no escaping the rules that stipulate no threat to an organic crop from GMOs.