The term “organic” does not exist in nature. It is a legal construct, devised by humans, as in “organic chemistry.”
Organic food and farm activists would want you to believe that their brands are undiluted and exist naturally just like the air and clean water around us. It doesn’t. This exists because there is a law defining the claim to be a mind-numbing legal agenda. Just ask any organic farmer who’s behind his paperwork?
If we were to agree tomorrow that certain GMOs would be considered organic, just as President Clinton and many other leading academicians suggest, we could simply re-phrase the law. Or we leave all things the way they exist being mix up with in arguments. Humans define “being organic” in both ways.
Then there’s this belief that GMOs “infect” organic crops, as if we’re talking about dumping waste into a flowing stream of brook trout. We’re not. We’re simply talking about politics here!
GMOs had never been proven to be harmful, even in the smallest bit. So if politicians should ever decide to accept the often-repeated claim by organic activists that GMOs actually “infect” organic crops, then it will be a political propaganda to set up a legal framework supporting the claim, not a scientific resolution.
Then why would organic activists continuously believe the idea of GMOs infecting organic crops?
The answer is simple. They simply want to sideline agricultural genetic engineering, and prevent GMO farming from further existence; a tricky strategy that has worked excellently: GMO flax, wheat, Golden Rice, Arctic Apples, innate potatoes and some others have been sidelined, some for more than 10 years now.
Yes, the USDA National Organic Program explains how and when synthetic pesticides pollute organic crops. This is because pesticides can cause harm if not used as specified (as noted by Canada’s organic standards). It’s worth noting and no further stipulation needed.
But the repeated America’s or Canada’s standards contain NOTHING that explains how or when GMOs “infect” organic crops. Organic farmers are just being prevented from planting GMO seeds owing to a radical-political hatred to this science that increases in the urban organic circles.
The only scientific definition of “organic”, as mentioned above, is the “organic chemistry” which involves the process of carbon-based life; while “inorganic chemistry” is the chemistry of all other elements. All living things are based on carbon. All of our food (except minerals such as table salt) is, by this definition, truly organic.
Unfortunately, the term “organic” was taken over and politicized by those who came up with an unknown system of growing crops based largely on false notion rather than science, in a market exercise characterized by government sanctions and honor, and tax subsidy. And while the organic program may have gotten respect back then when it focused on reducing the effects of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, it lost all integrity when it launched attacks on GMOs.
Let’s be crystal clear. None of the organic crops anywhere in America or Canada has ever lost organic approval due to pollen or plant-material migrating into them from a GMO crop. Not even one!
Meanwhile, GMOs radically reduce the effects of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, while also bringing about exceptional reductions in fossil-fuel consumption. These achievements should even make organic activists think of applauding and perhaps embrace the process, instead, a shocking number of GMO executives and academicians still support the organic activists’ clever tricks; many now believing that GMOs truly “infect” organic crops, to the point of worrying over how to stop this “contamination” and, most annoying, thinking of how to give cover to organic farmers against it, as if it were a locusts plague or drought.
Myths have it that organic shipments were rejected by buyers who, as was told, demanded a total genetic purity. Meanwhile, 43% of American organic foods test positive for forbidden pesticides, a number higher than what it is in Canada. Why didn’t organic food buyers reject THOSE loads?
It appears organic stakeholders don’t care about synthetic pesticides or fertilizer any longer, even when used indiscriminately by organic farmers. They have wrongly decided that the only solution to organic farming is through a de facto ban on all new GMO crops, which will limit the productive capacity of its modern farming, thereby making organic productivity appear better by comparison.
Nice try. But this baseless, negative marketing ploy is finally coming to light. And no… it is not “inflammatory” or “mean-spirited” to point this out. It’s the law.
Organic farmers are not required to keep their crops 100 percent, or 99 percent, or even 90 percent GMO free. In fact, they’re not required to observe any threshold limit on GMO content in their organic crops, organic seed production being the only possible exception.
And please don’t take only our word for this. According to IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements, “Any defined threshold will be chosen arbitrarily and does not reflect adherence to organic principles. Therefore IFOAM does not support the introduction of de minimis thresholds for genetic contamination.” We could not agree more.
Organic standards were written by organic stakeholders, so there is absolutely no excuse for these same stakeholders to now try to ignore them, and to fool others into doing the same. You can’t just make up law on-the-fly because you feel like it, or because you claim your buyers demand it.
There is, to be blunt, no such thing as contamination of an organic crop by GMOs, and no basis, in point of scientific fact, for a GMO-free definition of organic. The whole premise of being organic is, after all, pure artifice from start to finish, not bequeathed to the organic farming community by God, Gaia, or Mother Nature, but by man.
Consumers have certainly been led to believe it’s better to “go organic,” and have been convinced this means eliminating GMOs from their diet, above all else. Meanwhile, organic farming requires more fossil fuel, causes erosion, provides little if any discernible health benefit, and has resulted in inordinately high levels of food-borne illness outbreaks, even death, due to the organic industry’s failure to test for fecal coliforms resulting from improperly-composted manure!
So why exactly does every single up-and-coming GMO crop sit idly on the back burner in response to a media-driven backlash to this new field of agricultural science from organic activists?
Farmers and consumers are entitled to make whatever choices they want in a free market. They’re even entitled to believe they’re saving the planet in making these choices, even when they’re not. But this act of dietary faith can no longer be allowed to come at the expense of others.
The time has come to stop organic activists from creating controversy where none exists. We need to strengthen the peaceful coexistence that has always existed between organic and GMO farmers wherever GMOs are grown, and look forward to the day when we might even see the world’s first certified-organic, genetically-modified crop.
Source for this article: The Daily Caller
This article was written with contributions from, and the support of the following people:
- Mischa Popoff author of Is it Organic? and policy adviser for The Heartland Institute, former USDA organic inspector.
- Hans-Jörg Jacobsen, Professor, Institut für Pflanzengenetik (Institute of Plant Genetics), Hanover, Germany, and Visiting Professor at Northeastern University, Boston.
- Klaus Ammann, Professor Emeritus, FRSB, University of Bern, Switzerland.
- Al B. Wagner, Professor and Extension Food Technologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
- Jerzy Nowak, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech: Low Input Agriculture based on modification of rhizosphere and microdelivery of inputs via subsurface irrigation coupled with integrated sensor network and plant phenotyping.
- Pierre Desrochers, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, and co-author with Hiroko Shimizu of The Locavore’s Dilemma – In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet.
- Bruce Thornton, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Professor of Classics and Humanities, California State University.
- Robert Wager Biology Dept. Vancouver Island University
- Patrick Moore, co-founder and 15-year leader of Greenpeace, now an independent ecologist and author of Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, and leader of the Allow Golden Rice Now! campaign.
- Al E. Slinkard, Professor Emeritus, Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan.
- Antonio Saltini, University of Bologna, Italy, author of the four-volume work Storico delle scienze agrarie (History of agrarian sciences in Western civilization).
- Jay Lehr, Science Director at the Heartland Institute, author of more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 30 books.
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