ecoglobe [yinyang] news (25 December 1999)

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Growing evidence of widespread GMO contamination

Now that millions of tests have been conducted in response to escalating worldwide concern over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, it is increasingly clear that GMO contamination of conventionally grown food is a serious issue. Ultimately, it may trigger legal action.

GMO testing has increased astronomically in recent months, and it now happens "quite often" that farmers are surprised to learn that crops they grew in the United States from non-GMO seeds test positive for GMOs when they reach Europe, said John Fagan, founder of Genetic ID of Fairfield, Iowa. Genetic ID became the world's first laboratory to offer GMO testing in 1996 and now licenses its nearly foolproof method for detecting GMOs, which is based on the "TaqMan" DNA testing technique, to laboratories around the world....

One of the reasons that the pace of testing has skyrocketed in recent months is because businesses want to avoid embarrassment. Gerber made its no-GMO vow after Greenpeace used DNA testing to show that the company's dry cereal baby food contained GMOs, for example. Other companies who have promised GMO-free food have had their claims refuted by testing. ...

Terra Prima, a company that sells organic corn chips, used DNA testing to prove that corn grown by a certified organic farmer in Texas was contaminated by cross-pollination from a nearby field where Bt corn was grown. The company was forced to destroy $87,000 worth of its chips because the contamination did not come to light until after the corn was made into chips; it is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against EPA this February alleging that the agency registered genetically engineered crops without adequately considering their health and environmental impacts. In addition to the cases he has documented, Fagan believes there are many other cases where non-GMO corn and canola crops became contaminated by cross-pollination from GMO crops. ...

Ultimately, this evidence of how conventionally grown crops are being contaminated by windborne pollen and how seeds are falsely labeled as being non-GMO could give organic farmers grounds for a class-action lawsuit, said Michael Hansen, a research associate with the Consumer Policy Institute. The basis of such a suit could be the toxic trespass laws passed by many states to provide citizens with legal recourse against anyone who introduces toxins into the environment, Hansen said.

[Source: Chemical and Engineering News (published by the American Chemical Society, the largest scientific society in the world) December 1,1999/ Volume33, Issue23/ pp.484A-485A; posted 23 December 1999 to the NZ <> Genetic Engineering List] ** This material is distributed for research and educational purposes only. ** Feedback to: <>






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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (25 December 1999)

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