“I’m an organic farmer. For me it’s obvious that genetic engineering has to be kept out of agriculture. The risk of contamination is far too big. But above all we have much better solutions, dealing carefully and respectfully with nature.”The standards established by IFOAM categorically exclude genetically engineered organisms and products containing GMOs from the organic production system. With the application of transgenic organisms problems of contamination arise at different levels:
Regina Fuhrer, president of the Swiss
Organic Farmers Association
• In the field: Pollen from genetically engineered plants is blown by wind or carried by insects into other fields, thus contaminating these crops. Bees are known to distribute pollen over a distance of 3 kilometers.
• In seed production: Breeding and multiplication of organic seed and seedlings is also affected by contamination from pollen from GM-plants.
• During harvesting, transport and processing: At all points from the field to the final processing facility (during transport on trucks, ships or trains, in mills, in food processing factories etc.) There are many opportunities for contamination. Only strict segregation can minimize the risk.
Farmers, processors and traders wanting to produce and sell organic and GMO-free products; and consumers wanting to buy it, are confronted with massive problems of genetic pollution. Another problem is that the
pests may develop resistance to the Bt-toxin of transgenetic plants. Bt sprays are also used in organic farming, however, as an effective, natural insecticide. If this resistance were to occur they would become ineffective.
Genetically Modified vs. Organic
IFOAM GMO Brochure -The facts and the fiction, from bees and carrots 4 stories, your questions our answers
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