December 6, 2004
OTA Warns of Genetically Engineered CropsGREENFIELD, Mass.--The Organic Trade Association (OTA) continues to warn of potential organic contamination and calls for stricter containment strategies for biotech crops.Since 2000, OTA has called for a moratorium on the use of genetically engineered (GE) organisms in all agricultural production because of the possibility of contamination and other detrimental effects on the organic industry and, ultimately, consumer choice. Findings in a 2004 report, Biological Confinement of Genetically Engineered Organisms, released by the National Academy of Sciences, confirmed GE contamination is possible and could have the potential to cause unintended effects on the environment.OTA is very concerned that the expansion of genetically engineered crops may ultimately limit consumer options, said Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of OTA (www.ota.org). For consumers who want to select products grown without the use of genetically engineered materials, they should look for the organic label.It is estimated that at least one-third of the United States corn supplies, and more than three-quarters of United States soybeans are genetically engineered, without being labeled as such in the marketplace, according to OTA. OTA encouraged the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) to institute stricter containment efforts and other new regulations to prevent further GE contamination. Organic agriculture must be protected from contamination and damage from genetically engineered crops, DiMatteo said.
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