Monday, June 21, 2010

GMO Hamster...

As I write this post I will do so carefully, choosing my words with caution as I will be talking about one of the biggest names in industrial agriculture; Monsanto.

Today the supreme court sided with Monsanto, lifting an injunction that had prevented the company from selling it's genetically modified alfalfa seeds. Monsanto has developed a Roundup Ready alfalfa which (as the name suggests) has been genetically modified not to be killed by the company's popular herbicide, Roundup.

The injunction had been placed on the company because of concerns of cross pollination with organic and conventional (non-GMO) varieties of alfalfa. Monsanto says this is unlikely.

From this article. Dr. Nelson of Purdue University when speaking of GMO corn states that "GMO "contamination" of non-GMO grain can occur in corn by virtue of either cross-pollination between adjacent fields of GMO and non-GMO hybrids or by commingling (a fancy term for "mixing") of seed."

According to this article (Reuters) "There were 39 cases of crop contamination in 23 countries in 2007, and more than 200 in 57 countries over the last 10 years, according to biotech critic Greenpeace International."

Obviously, these are not all caused by pollen drift, but contamination by pollen drift is part of the concern. The other part is that Monsanto actively targets farmers who grow crops with there "intellectual property" (genes) even if the farmer did not grow the crop on purpose (and in the case of organic production where growing it is not allowed.)

I would hope that if the Supreme Court is siding with Monsanto that contamination is unlikely and will not hold farmers in the future liable if their crops do become contaminated. But I really doubt that. Like it or not, the future is here. Hope your hamster likes GMO alfalfa...

The AP article on the case.

No comments: