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Agricultural News

Organic, Natural Farm Groups Push for Better USDA Oversight of GM Field Trials

Fri, 23 Aug 2013 12:28:30 CDT

Organic, Natural Farm Groups Push for Better USDA Oversight of GM Field Trials
Field trials of genetically modified (GM) plants awaiting USDA approval need stricter oversight, including mandatory contamination prevention and prevention measures, according more than 150 organic, natural and family farm groups and related businesses who told USDA this week the recent emergence of an unapproved wheat variety in an Oregon field is evidence the system needs to be tightened.

The groups said the discovery of the Monsanto GM wheat variety and the ensuing “disarray in international markets” are evidence of “major weaknesses in USDA’s oversight of experimental field trials, including how unauthorized crops are contained,” the groups said in a statement put out by the Organic Seed Alliance and the Rural Advancement Foundation International. The groups called on USDA in a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this summer to “fix its rubber stamp approach to GM crops.”

The group also asked USDA to cease any work on pending GM wheat approvals until the Oregon investigation is completed.

USDA told the media it has strengthened its oversight of GM field trials in recent years, increasing field inspections to 700 a year, up from about 500 inspections in 2007.



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