Missouri (Reuters) - Widespread contamination of U.S. corn, soybeans and other crops by genetically engineered varieties is threatening the purity of organic and natural food products and driving purveyors of such specialty products to new efforts to protect their markets, industry leaders said this week.
A range of players, from dairy farmers to natural food retailers, are behind an effort to introduce testing requirements and standards for certification aimed at keeping contamination at bay. That goal is rapidly becoming harder, however, as planting of biotech [GM; a.k.a. Frankenfood] corn, soybeans, and other crops expands across the United States.
Biotech [GM] crops, primarily corn, soybeans, cotton and canola, have genes that have been manipulated to express specific traits, most commonly a resistance to herbicide, which helps farmers. Biotech [GM] developers such as Monsanto Co patent the crop technology and tightly control use of the seed.
Indeed, contamination of conventional crops by biotech [GM] crops has been reported around the world. There were 39 cases of crop contamination in 23 countries in 2007, and more than 200 in 57 countries over the last 10 years, according to biotech [GM] critic Greenpeace International.
That has become more difficult as biotech [GM] corn acres have expanded in the United States. In 2007, an estimated 73 percent of the 92.9 million acres of U.S. corn planted were biotech, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
RLCC Comment: Someone is pushing for a change in the terminology in order to break the continuity of negativism associated with genetic manipulation of food. "GM" is seen as negative by tens of millions if not hundreds and even billions of people. "Biotech" food breaks the immediate association. It causes the learning curve to begin over again concerning those who are more easily manipulated themselves or who have been less well-indoctrinated into recognizing the evils of greedy GM purveyors in the first place.
, obtained via: , March 12, 2008, 5:54am