Mishandle = Scandal
Untested GM Crops Found Contaminating Nebraska, Iowa
The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods has learned that genetically modified soybeans have contaminated natural crops in Nebraska, and GM corn has contaminated natural crops in Iowa. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has again failed to protect neighboring farmers and the public from risky, untested foods -- and waited until after Election Day to admit its failure.
Here are portions of a Washington Post report on this subject.
Biotech Firm Mishandled Corn in Iowa
by Justin Gillis The biotechnology company that mishandled gene-altered corn in Nebraska did the same thing in Iowa, the government disclosed on November 13. Fearing that pollen from corn not approved for human consumption may have spread to nearby fields of ordinary corn, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered 155 acres of Iowa corn pulled up back in September and incinerated.
The disclosure raised new questions about the conduct of ProdiGene Inc., a company in College Station, Tex., that is now under investigation for allegedly violating government permits in two states. The ProdiGene matter is proving to be a black eye for the biotech industry, which has been trying to reassure the public it can be trusted not to contaminate the food supply.
In neither Nebraska nor Iowa did gene-altered corn, or soybeans growing in the same fields, enter the food supply, claimed Cindy Smith, acting head of biotechnology regulation for the USDA.
In light of the USDA failure, Smith admitted the department may "consider" revising its rules to lessen the chance of similar problems in the future.
ProdiGene has acknowledged what it terms "compliance challenges," releasing few details.
Before the Iowa case was disclosed, pro-safety groups attacked USDA officials for their handling of a problem in which 500,000 bushels of Nebraska soybeans got mixed with a number of genetically modified ProdiGene plants, calling the mixing a "gross failure" of the regulatory system designed to protect the food supply. Several groups assailed the government's refusal to identify the industrial or pharmaceutical protein that may have been contained in the grain.
"There is a genetically engineered pharmaceutical or industrial chemical that mistakenly entered into the grain supply, only one stop away from getting into our food, and the government isn't talking," said Matt Rand, biotechnology campaign manager for the National Environmental Trust. "The public has the right to know what's going on."
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Be sure to see Fred Foldvary's editorial on Genetically Manipulated Food
Once again, the government appears to be more of a corporate lapdog than the people's protector, as the USDA ignores science and works against open disclosures. Who will ensure safety in our children's food? What's your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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