Organic Versus Genetically Engineered Crops: Some Rays of Light

August 30, 2011
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no-gmo-foodsRecent court decisions may help. Plus, new research shows how dangerous Monsanto’s GMOs really are.

Natural organic crops need to be protected from potential contamination by synthetic, genetically engineered seeds—especially in the face of less government oversight of GMOs. Natural seeds face the same Catch-22 as supplements: they cannot be patented, whereas synthetic seeds (and drugs) can be—and are therefore huge profit centers for Big Agro and Big Pharma, not to mention the government agencies in bed with them. They also need protection from the increased use of pesticides used on GE crops, which are also carried by the winds.

Our colleagues at ANH International reported recently that two court cases in the US might be turning the tide in favor of organic farmers over GE crops:

  • Last December, the California Court of Appeal found the Western Farm Service guilty of “negligence, trespass, and nuisance” against Jacobs Organic Farm and the Del Cabo Organic Cooperative. In 2006 Western Farm applied GE organophosphate (OP) pesticides to Brussels sprouts grown on land neighboring the organic farms. Winds carried these pesticides onto the organic produce and contaminated it—making it unsalable as organic. Even though Western Farm claimed to have taken precautions to avoid pesticide drift, it still happened—and fortunately the court found them guilty.
  • Last month, after ten years of futile complaints to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found the Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Company guilty of negligence, trespass, and nuisance on Oluf and Debra Johnson’s organic farm. Once again the pesticides sprayed on the oil company’s farms spread to the Johnsons’ land.

One of the big problems with GE crops is that they are responsible for the greatly increased use of pesticides which can easily contaminate organic crops. Now organic farms have legal precedents to sue conventional farms (and those using GMOs) for pesticide contamination.

Assuming EPA continues to approve more and more synthetic herbicides, these precedents will be an important tool in our arsenal. EPA recently approved a new herbicide called Imprelis. It’s billed as “environmentally friendly” but it is the leading suspect in the death of thousands trees all across the country.

Speaking of environmentally unfriendly GMOs, NPR reported this week that a type of genetically modified corn from Monsanto, which was developed to be impervious to a specific type of worm, may actually be causing the bugs to adapt and turn into “superbugs,” making the corn vulnerable to the very worms it was engineered to resist. Researchers at Iowa State University found that farmers who grew the Monsanto corn three years in a row got infested with “super” corn rootworms—and the damage they do could begin to reduce corn yields and raise corn prices.

23 Responses to “Organic Versus Genetically Engineered Crops: Some Rays of Light”

  1. Thanks for every other informative site. The place else may just I am getting that kind of info written in such an ideal approach? I have a venture that I am simply now operating on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such info.

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  2. Mari F says:

    If we get rid of MONSANTO and its partners and all the GMO and GE technology and bring back what is truly natural and organic foods, we will see the elimination of most. Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer, High Blood pressure and many other diseases we are encountering today has a result of these Frankenfoods, pesticides and herbicides these so call geniuses created.

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  3. Jean Newbold says:

    I am happy to see that those 2 organic farmers were able to be recompensed for their crop losses. However, it was not the major culprit who paid. Monsanto has a section in their regs that says if the corn in my garden is affected by corn pollen from my neighbor’s farm, I can be sued by Monsanto for “stealing” their patented corn and I have no recourse! Yes, I could sue the farmer for contaminating my little garden but I lose a friend and for what? Because he was forced to buy Monsanto’s corn in order to compete in his market? Monsanto is a monster! And growing worse by the day. Monsanto said at one point that they intend to own all the seed in the world and they are well on their way to that goal. If you buy their seed, you sign a contract which states, among other things, that you may not save any seed from your crop — you must buy new for the next year. In India, thousands of farmers have committed suicide because they can no longer afford to buy seed. Monsanto is a monster!

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  4. julie says:

    The little thumbs up to ‘like’ these posts is not working, (the work of Monsanto? jk) or I would have thumbed up EVERY ONE OF THEM!!

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  5. Confused says:

    What do the pesticides have to do with GMO crops? The problem is overuse of pesticides the number 1 source of water pollution. GMOs could be grown without pesticides. Your headline is deceiving.

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    • Confused says:

      I was directed to this sight to for info to contact Congress to complain about this, but do not find the info: just a bunch of rants that politicians will ignore. How about the fact that the majority of pesticides are used on cotton crops. If you want to clean up pesticide use you need to campaign for using responsibly grown cottton. I do not see any talk about that.

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  6. Judith says:

    Our Supreme Court justice, Clarence Thomas, used to be a lawyer who defended Monsanto.
    He has not even excused himself since being appointed to the court in Monsanto cases. Fighting Monsanto is not going to be easy.

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  7. David Thomas says:

    We have to consider that any time you engage in a new technology, whether it be GM foods, some new food additive, or even cell phone use, you are participating in an experiment. Some number of years down the road, they MAY have information that makes it clear that whatever the new technology was, was not a good idea.

    We react with horror to stories of a captive population (such as inmates in prison) being the subjects of experiments without their consent. We should consider that WE are a captive population being subjected to experiments without our consent ALL THE TIME!

    Personally, I choose to participate in the cell phone experiment, but I have control over that. When a big company such as Monsanto forces us to participate in their GM foods experiment without our consent, I react outrage.

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  8. Harish Dalal says:

    Why is it that time and time again harmful chemicals get into the mainstream,justified by some data,collected by the deeloper and backed by a government agency. Have we lost our ability to do research or become too impatient so we graduate a student before the thesis is completed just because the poor guy needs to get a job and start making a living!

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  9. JIM STOLZ says:

    Monsanto, and the politicians who gave the green light to this junk should be banned from congress and lobbying for life !!!

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  10. This result was certainly not unexpected was it? We have evidence of numerous organisms “evolving” into superbugs. Polution of toxic bilge water caused the organisms in the New York harbor pileings to evolve faster. They now can eat a dock pileing in half the time it took the original organisms to do the job. Antibiotics have done the same job on infectuous diseases. Right now the bird flu has evolved into a new strain of bugs. If we just could teach them to operate nuclear power plants, we would have the problem solved once and for all.

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  11. Donna Estes says:

    I guess Mother Nature will show them who is boss. Super bugs and weeds. It’s to bad that the organic farmers have to go down with them. Hopefully they will all start sueing and maybe start to turn the tide. I don’t want Monsanto to be the only one left standing.

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  12. ned kelly says:

    The labeling of all ge/gm or any unnatural seed ,crop ,plant etc should have mandiatory labeling then we will see the true desire for these in the market place.

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  13. TW Slowe says:

    Even Mother Nature has a boiling point. Fuss with her children long enough and she will sooner or later get PO’d( put out, for you folks on the left Coast).
    If GMO’s were the answer to mankinds prayers, the government would welcome the products into the system and publish the virtues of benefits brought to the market place. The government has been complicit in secretive cover ups of any testing and have not demanded that GMO information be brought to the public for evaluation. How many lives, domestically and abroad, have been ruined, as a result of big business and court decisions in favor of financial power and the forced use of these dangerous products.
    If a product has to be muscled into use, without allowing information about the harmful effects and long turm harm to society, there must be something very dangerous about the product that the money behind the business is very afraid to allow out for public consideration.
    If these suspicions are unfounded, we welcome the open testing that will varify the health and safety of the altering of Mother Natures tried and true benefit to mankind. Mother Nature is more then ready to admitt that she could have been wrong, all these years. I am not from Missouri, but SHOW ME…
    Thanx,
    tw

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  14. Laurie Raymond says:

    My first (admittedly cynical) thought is: So now that the courts have defined the problem and will follow with remedies (how much in damages per acre per year to organic operations), the big guys will be able to do their deadly calculus and build in the cost of paying damages into their cost of doing business, and proceed to drive the entire organic farming industry out of business. I think that we’re going to have to find a way to criminalize the contamination of organic fields. Somebody will need to be vulnerable to injunctions and even prison sentences. Believe it – the big ag guys will regard this as a clarification of their liability limitation. Do organic farmers want to farm or collect compensation for spoiled crops? After how many years will a farmer be ineligible to collect any more damages because he hasn’t been able to produce organic crops on his contaminated land? These are the details that will allow big ag to never fail to make a profit while paying penalties for destroying organic agriculture forever. Can anyone say “anti-trust”-? Maybe we should be talking to attorneys with a really long view and a different sort of background.

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  15. Richard Pasichnyk says:

    We have to do something about GM crops, especially with regard to pesticide use. The US already uses more than two billion pounds of pesticides each year. This is not only extremely dangerous and contaminates organic crops, but it requires a tremendous amount of energy, water, and minerals. Therefore, it contributes to climate change and habitat destruction.

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  16. Susie Cassens says:

    Why are we letting the Scientists determine our fate…they were the nerds in High School because they had no common sense???Any suggestions on how to get things back in sync???

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    • jap says:

      Dear Susie,

      we human beings have made a complete mess of the world which God put into our care. Our arrogant scientists are all trying to take His place in the Creation without success. Perhaps it is time for us all to wake up and turn back to this God -Creator. Pray and implore Him to come and rescue us from our own follies.

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  17. Gina Sinnett says:

    Every time we try to “redesign” what “god” or “the universe” has designed in nature – WE create new and devastating problems for humans, animals and plant life with consequences that are often 10 times worse than the original connundrum. Time to learn from past mistakes. The quality of products that “Big Agra” produces are so inferior to what was produced in the 20s or 30s before DDT. “When will we ever learn”. Where are all those who protested the Vietnam War? Where are all those activits from the 60s and 70s? Wake Up People! Stand and Fight for your right to eat clean healthy food! Sign petitions. Write your congressman and have sit ins at Monsanto, etc or is every one so tired from eating poor quality food that you no longer have the energy to stand up for your rights?

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  18. Norma Galinn says:

    I hope and pray Monsanto and all the other petro companies and any other companies that destroy our planet fade into the sunset.

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  19. B. Talbert says:

    These super corn rootworms may still carry a fungus which can affect the bats and other animals that feed on them so could also affect the ecosystem. When will the powers that be recognize that it is all connected and that we will be the ultimate losers in a dangerous game that attempts to use Mother Nature in ways she does not like to be used. The whole planet is an organism and we had better get back with the program.

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    • I AM says:

      I wonder what would happen if this organization actually did something about this. Actually started a movement that boycotted seed companies, retailers and manufactures that use GMO or promote foods.

      Would the funding for this organization be in jeopardy or would there simply be a change in ANH leadership.

      Would the Billion dollar GMO companies and/or supporters reach out to the leadership of Cambridge Associates a primary contributor to Alliance for Natural Health. Cambridge Associates, whose clients are broadly diverse in terms of mission, locale, governance, and ranging in size from $50 million to more than $10 billion. Would they request a change in direction or request a simple distraction to keep citizens thinking there actually being effective, “Call to Action, Contact your Representative”

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  20. Doris CArey says:

    Protect our organic farmers. It is critcal to the nations health that we get Monsant out of our food and take them off of any FDA or USDA positions. They are the foxes watching the hen houses. Thank you for you attention to this life or death situation.

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