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USDA Does Nothing to Combat GMO Contamination of Alfalfa Crops
There’s a lot of talk about whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) should be regulated. One major concern for GMOcritics is that non-GMO crops could become contaminated with genetically engineered traits. The USDA recently made a statement that effectively said it doesn’t really care about this one way or the other.
To better understand the matter, let’s first take a look at one famous court case that took place in the late 1990s, called Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. Percy Schmeiser grew canola in Bruno, Saskatchewan, Canada. In 1997, he discovered that 60 percent of his non-GMO crop was actually contaminated with the Roundup Ready canola, which is patented by biotechnology monger Monsanto. In 1998, Schmeiser planted the GMO seed, which prompted Monsanto to approach him to sign and pay for a license agreement to use the patented seed.Schmeiser refused and went to court.
The court wound up ruling against Schmeiser because he had intentionally planted the GMO seed in 1998. What the court didn’t rule on was how his crop had become contaminated in the first place.
Just how likely is it for non-GMO crops to become contaminated from nearby GMO crops by wind or through cross-pollination from honey bees?
Well, let’s fast-forward to September 2013. According to a Reuters article by Carey Gillam, one farmer in Washington state recently complained that his non-GMO crop wound up having a “low-level” presence of a genetically engineered trait of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa. The farmer’s biggest problem with this was that he lost the ability to sell those crops to certain foreign and domestic buyers that do not accept GMOalfalfa. Obviously, this could cause some financial suffering on the farmer’s part, as he’s been shut out of a certain market.
So, what does the USDA do about it? Nothing.In fact, the USDA stated that this problem should be addressed by the marketplace, not the government.
Was the alfalfa seed simply mislabeled? Or, was the contamination actually caused by cross pollination? The USDA is obviously not concerned. But, thinking on a larger scale, shouldn’t we all be a little more concerned? How frequently and how quickly is this happening to plants across the U.S. and across the world? What happens if crops really are unintentionally being contaminated with GMOs and we wait too long to take action? Quite frankly, this whole train of thought is a little scary.
Of course, Monsanto wouldn’t complain. It, no doubt, could be very good for business if the company could eventually collect license fees for seed used by every farmer across the world.Here’s hoping that someone steps up to the plate to find out what’s really going on before that happens.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.