Do GMO crops coexist with nature’s varieties? For the many organic farmers waging a constant battle against contamination of their fields, the answer is clearly no. Propelled by the logic of their laboratory-tuned DNA, these new strains cross every unguarded rural frontier.
Will they ever peaceably agree to make loaves, not war? The new study GMO Myths and Truths (Antoniou et al.) reviews the casualty count, so far:
“In 2006 an unapproved experimental GM rice, grown only for one year in experimental plots, was found to have contaminated the U.S. rice supply and seed stocks. Contaminated rice was found as far away as Africa, Europe, and Central America. In 2007 U.S. rice exports were down 20% from the previous year as a result of the GM contamination. In 2011 the company that developed the GM rice, Bayer, agreed to pay $750 million to settle lawsuits brought by 11,000 U.S. farmers whose rice crops were contaminated.”
“In 2011 an unauthorized GM Bt pesticidal rice, Bt63, was found in baby formula and rice noodles on sale in China. Contaminated rice products were also found in Germany and Sweden. The same rice was found in rice products in New Zealand in 2008, leading to product recalls. GM Bt rice has not been shown to be safe for human consumption. Periodic recalls of products contaminated with Bt63 rice continue to be reported even today in Europe.”
“Organic maize production in Spain has dropped as the acreage of GM maize production has increased, due to contamination by cross-pollination with GM maize.”
“In 2000 GM StarLink maize, produced by Aventis (now Bayer CropScience), was found to have contaminated the U.S. maize supply. StarLink had been approved for animal feed but not for human consumption.”
“In 2009 an unauthorized GM flax called CDC Triffid contaminated Canadian flax seed supplies, resulting in the collapse of Canada’s flax export market to Europe.”
“In Canada, contamination from GM oilseed rape has made it virtually impossible to cultivate organic, non-GM oilseed rape.”