The Environmental Leader reports on efforts by more than 150 organizations to urge the US Department of Agriculture to improve its oversight of experimental trials of gentically engineerd crops:
Organic food manufacturer Amy’s Kitchen, Farm Aid, Clif Bar & Company, The Urban Farm, Organic Seed Alliance and the Center for Food Safety are among more than 150 farm organizations, millers, retailers, bakeries, seed businesses and food processors urging the US Department of Agriculture to improve its oversight of experimental trials of genetically engineered crops. The groups have signed a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that centers on their concern over the discovery this summer of unapproved genetically engineered wheat in Oregon. The signatories say the contamination shows the inadequacy of US regulation of genetically engineered crop field trials. The incident also reinforces the sensitivity of export markets, all of which reject genetically engineered wheat. The economic impacts of the genetically engineered wheat discovery were immediate, the signatories say. Shipments from Oregon wheat farmers were temporarily put on hold after the unapproved wheat was found. The delegation has asked the USDA to halt new approvals of genetically engineered wheat field trials at least until the contamination investigation is complete. The group also says the USDA should publish a report detailing the investigation, implement recommendations that aim to improve field trial oversight, and require mandated containment protocols for all genetically engineered crop field trials.