How GMO crops in the environment inevitably degrade organic standards

Jeremy Bloom from Red Green and Blue:

GMOs in the environment leads to a slippery slope for organic food quality. Simpsons pic via the Red Green Blue blog

“You must have seen this one coming.

When the USDA approved Monsanto’s gene-modified (GMO) alfalfa back in January, the Big Ag party line was that Organic producers had nothing to worry about. There was just not that much risk of contamination.

Now, barely two months later, stories like this one are being seeded in the mainstream media: “A Growing Debate: How To Define ‘Organic’ Food“

There once was a person from Crew
Who found a dead mouse in his stew…

That NPR story explains that some folks are being silly purists. Folks like Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association who think Organic should be… Organic. American farmers have been following Organic standards for decades – how hard can it be?

Pretty hard, it turns out. They can’t sell food that hasn’t been contaminated, because it doesn’t exist anymore.

…most organic corn in the U.S. typically contains anywhere from half a percent to 2 percent GMOs, according to companies that sell such corn to organic dairies or poultry farmers. It has been that way since genetically engineered corn and soybeans became popular, more than a decade ago.

But does that matter? Tom Spohn, director of dairy operations for Horizon Organic, says it doesn’t keep the company from calling its milk organic.

“We just make sure we’re meeting the letter of the organic regulations to the T,” he says.

According to those regulations, if an organic farmer plants non-GMO seed and uses organic methods, the harvest is organic, even if a few stray genes blew in.

What are a few stray genes among friends?

… Said the waiter, “Don’t shout
or wave it about…”

The story goes on to warn that by focusing too much on the fact that, you know, our food is tainted, it will cause a ‘Perception problem” with consumers. (Why? Organic consumers have this quaint idea about purity and healthiness.)

NPR quotes Charles Benbrook, chief scientist for the Organic Center, as saying the anti-GMO campaign “could undermine the trust that increasing numbers of consumers have in organic food.” (Not the GMOs, of course… but the nasty campaign that points at them.)

“It would be a shame for the momentum behind the growth in the organic livestock industry to be siphoned off or diverted because of one-tenth of 1 percent contamination in a source of animal feed,” he says.

In fact, he says, if you insist on organic milk and eggs from animals that eat absolutely no GMO genes, you’ll have to get that food from Europe, “and that’s hardly a welcome solution for people who see in the organic food industry the best hope for positive change and innovation in the U.S. food system.”

(Who is Charles Benbrook? He’s only the guy that published the study that showed Monsanto’s Roundup-resistant GMO seeds were causing what everyone had predicted: Superweeds, leading to much heavier pesticide use.)…”

Continue here with page two of this story.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “How GMO crops in the environment inevitably degrade organic standards

  1. Well written, The more in dept I get into GMO’s the more I just want to scream WHY? Did anyone look at Monsanto’s track record before the become the biggest Frankenstein seed producer? So do you think it is to late to stop this seemingly runaway train? Or are we just spinning the tires going nowhere.
    Its alarming to see what has not been told to the vast majority of people, about what all this GMO stuff really does. Yet Information is available if you choose to look, I made a choice and now the blinders are off.

  2. RICHARD BARRETT

    The cow is wiser than today’s man. Put GMO corn and non-GMO corn in front of a cow and the cow will like the non-GMO corn better as will the wild birds. An interesting site, http://www.highbrixgarden.com, sure helped me to put the missing piece of the puzzle in the picture. Now I understand why people eat Raw and Organic.
    We must educate others of what GMO and Round-up Ready is doing to our soil and health before our land can be healed and FLOW WITH MILK & HONEY.

    • nedlud

      It’s this simple, use your senses and observe things:

      This past year, I had about an 1 1/2 acre patch of op corn growing in a certain sheltered area. I was just trying to save enough seed for some seed sale, keeping it isolated, remove my seed ears. Then, I had planned to turn some heifers onto it. I am telling you, the corn was voraciously eaten by all type of wild animal: deer, coon, pheasants, squirrels, all manner of birds and wild turkeys! They gobbled it up! Their tracks and droppings were everywhere. Along with much damaged (knocked over) and eaten corn, empty cobs laying all around. It looked to me as though I had put cattle in there, before I had cattle in there! Corn was utterly eaten and demolished…by the wildlife.

      Now about approx. 2 miles away from my patch, stood a ‘wildlife planting’ roughly the same size as my patch, another isolated acre or two. But it was GMO. As late as mid-November, you could see every ear, on the stalk, untouched. I am not exaggerating. I saw this with my own eyes. I swear to this.

      nedlud

      • thebovine

        I’ve heard similar stories from a local organic grower. The birds are smart enough not to eat GMO crops, especially if there’s a choice of something better. But how do they know? Trial and error?

        I guess this is yet another way in which widespread GMO plantings make it more difficult for organic farmers.

  3. nedlud

    Yes, it is wonderful noting how you hit the nail precisely on the head with this comment, Mr. ‘The Bovine’.

    I have been growing op corn for nearly 25 years, feeding it to our cows, and even in those older days, 20-25 years ago,, it seemed more popular with the wild things than hybrid corns. I noticed it right off.

    Now that all the ‘hybrid’ is also GMO, my op corn suffers enormous predation losses, year in and year out. They (the wild critters) just seem to know. I’m imagine it’s partly taste, partly smell and partly who knows? Certainly over the years, they’ve gotten used to coming on over and visiting our farm, come late August, September and October. They’ve learned everybody else’s corn is crap.

    It’s actually quite amazing, except that it costs me plenty, in lost feed. Wish everyone would grow op or at least old time hybrids and scrap those infernal evil infested GMOs. Everybody’d have all the fat deer they could want for tasty and healthy venison. Wish there were a whole lot more small farmers than there are, wish there was no such thing as GMO, or Round-Up herbicide, wish a lot of things….

    ….keep up the tremendous good work, reporting on the real news and issues concerning dairy and small farmers. I am very glad to see sites like this operating, very glad for the comments and communication that takes place here.

    your friend,
    nedlud

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