Two recent discoveries of cross contamination from genetically modified crops have jeopardized the livelihoods of thousands of American farmers, and State Senator Maralyn Chase from the city of Shoreline, Washington isn’t happy about it.
“Our state’s farmers are becoming collateral damage to the reckless practices of the agriculture industry in this country,” Chase said in a September 13 article to the Associated Press, which was published on OregonLive.com. “More than 60 of our trade partners throughout the world have bans on the import of unlabeled GMO foods.”
The comments were made in response to recent news that alfalfa samples from an Eastern Washington farm were contaminated from GMO alfalfa. The farmer whose crops were contaminated never intended to grow GMO alfalfa, but it was rejected by a broker who found evidence of the GMOs.
The incident comes on the heels of a similar one involving unapproved GMO wheat in Oregon. The wheat is not commercially cultivated, but the alfalfa is.
While alfalfa is not a very well known crop compared with corn, soy, apples and others, it is one of the most important in the organic food industry. Dairy and meat farmers in particular rely heavily on it to feed livestock, and its wide use means that cross contamination is likely to continue on a large scale.
Some have even dubbed the quiet approval of GMO alfalfa (despite 200,000 comments against it to the USDA) as the “end of organic” because of how widespread it is. This incident further confirms the potential risks not only to the health of consumers but also to the long-term purity and natural status of the important crop which is used in hay on farms.
Cross Contamination Issue Must be Addressed by GMO Companies, Activists
It’s no secret that millions of people want more independent testing, containment, and/or bans on GMOs because of how risky they are to the health and the environment.
Many (mostly uninformed) pundits say that there’s no issue because people who don’t want GMOs can simply buy organic. As this and other cases prove, that’s simply not the case.
Cross contamination and the continued cultivation of new GMO crop varieties could spell the end of truly natural food if the problem is not contained soon, not to mention a major hit to the U.S. economy since so many countries still ban GMO imports.
Despite this, the media continues to outright ignore cross contamination. It continues to ignore arguably the biggest fundamental change to our food, and to nature itself potentially, in many, many decades.
Government officials have done the same, which is what makes Sen. Chase’s comment so commendable.
And activists need to do their part too: the cross-contamination threat is still completely foreign to the vast majority of the U.S. population.
This should be a focus of the upcoming March Against Monsanto and other protests. The country needs to know about this grave threat, and we need to send a message that GMO companies will be held accountable and forced to keep their GMOs under wraps as best they can until further testing can be done.
It’s time to get creative with our sign-making, social media posts and graphics, and to do our best to protect the planet.
Also: See our article about Monsanto’s lie regarding its “Website Promise Not to Sue” here.