On the corn next door

stated that under USDA standards, "organic farmers should not lose their certification due to adventitious presence of GMOs, as long as they take 'reasonable steps' to prevent such commingling.

Oct 24, 2005
Alex Avery(aavery@cgfi.org)

The article "The Corn Next Door"1 stated that under USDA standards, "organic farmers should not lose their certification due to adventitious presence of GMOs, as long as they take 'reasonable steps' to prevent such commingling. However, that rule is murky, and a few farmers in a 2002 OFRF survey said they lost certification due to GMO presence, according to Bob Scowcroft, the group's executive director."

The USDA rule is not at all murky. It clearly states that unintentional GMO presence is not grounds for loss of organic certification of either the crop or the farm and there is no threshold for "contamination." Moreover, the USDA states on its Web site that as of January 2005 it was not aware of a single farm or crop losing organic certification due to GMO contamination.

If organic farmers lost certification because of contamination, as reported in the OFRF survey, the certifier was simply wrong and the farmer has solid legal grounds for appeal. But even these reports are suspect, as the organic community has been cynically trying to fabricate the GMO contamination conflict in their attempts to block a technology with which they disagree on philosophical grounds. Numerous USDA-approved organic certifiers have falsely testified at state-level hearings that GMO contamination is grounds for loss of certification so as to justify proposed state-level bans on planting biotech crops.

Without the contamination card, organic farmers and activists cannot play the victim card and the state-level bans lose their impetus.