corn pollution from GE corn crops
Organic corn pollution from GE corn crops
News Update From The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
Corn, otherwise known as "maize," is causing the most concern of all of the crops that have been genetically engineered because of the large amount of pollen drift that takes place with corn.
The contamination in the United States is now so bad that it has been reported that virtually all of the 2000 harvest of corn seed is testing positive for genetically engineered material. Unfortunately this includes the organic corn harvest.
In the United Kingdom, after a week of protests by environmental groups concerned that genetically engineered corn pollen would pollute a nearby organic research facility, the British government announced Monday that they are canceling the trials of genetically engineered corn.
Please allow me to clarify this. In the United States we have nearly 70 million acres of genetically engineered crops planted for commercial production. This includes over 18 million acres of genetically engineered corn.
In Europe they have zero acreage of genetically engineered crops growing for commercial production. However, they do have trial fields growing on a limited amount of land. Many of these test fields have been ripped up by anti-genetic engineering protesters.
Because of concern that corn pollen could cause pollution of organic crops, the trials of growing genetically engineered corn in Britain have been canceled. But here in the United States where widespread contamination is currently taking place, the pollution continues unabated.
How high does the level of contamination of organic corn from genetically engineered corn crops need to get in the United States before it is stopped? That is a difficult question to answer. But suffice it to say that the current level of protest by consumers and the organic industry is far less than what is needed.
The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods hopes that the organic industry, the natural products industry, the environmental community, farm groups and concerned consumers will begin to focus more direct attention on the pollution of organic corn from genetically engineered corn. Perhaps a class-action lawsuit is in order?
The Campaign feels that the issue of organic corn pollution from genetically engineered corn could be the "Achilles heel" for the agricultural biotech industry. The ONLY way to stop this pollution is to stop growing genetically engineered corn.
Note: The two other major genetically engineered crops that are being grown on a wide scale basis in the United States, soybeans and cotton, are self-pollinating plants. Bees and other insects can still carry the pollen between these plants causing low level contamination. But the pollen drift from wind is much less of an issue for soybeans and cotton than it is for corn.
Posted below are two articles. The first is an Associated Press article titled "British Gov't Halts Maize Trials." As the names implies, this articles discusses the cancellation of the trial field of GE corn in the United Kingdom.
The second article is from the May/June 2001 edition of Farm Journal magazine and is titled "Pollen In The Air." Please be aware that the Farm Journal is a mainstream agricultural magazine. As such, this article does not discuss organic agriculture at all. It discusses StarLink corn pollution and the difficulty the corn industry is having keeping genetically engineered materials out of non-GE corn.
This second article gets fairly technical and may not interest some readers. I am including it because it provides a lot of insight about the degree of contamination that can take place in corn fields from cross-pollination.
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