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WEEKLY NEWS TOPIC: Can GMO and organic agriculture peacefully co-exist?
Like a concerned parent with scrapping siblings, the United States Department of Agriculture is determined to get biotech and organic agricultures to just get along.
The essential problem is keeping crops that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from contaminating organic crops with their modified genes. Organic crops are, by official government rules, not allowed to contain GMOs. Thus if an organic crop is contaminated with GMOs, it can no longer be sold as organic.
To determine how these disparate entities could best co-exist, USDA commissioned an advisory group, called AC21, consisting of stakeholders from both factions. After considering the problem for some time, AC21 recommended, in essence, that all farmers should be free to grow whatever they want, and that all farmers should pay to self-insure themselves against transgenic contamination.
In other words, AC21 recommends USDA and the biotech industry abdicate responsibility for GMO contaminations and that organic farmers insure themselves against such contaminations. This recommendation leads one to ask…
Can GMO and organic agricultures peacefully co-exist?