GMO Free Idaho co-founder Jenny Easley expressed frustration at the discovery of Roundup Resistant Wheat in an Oregon field. Monsanto, she said, continues to claim these crops are safe despite the fact they were never approved for production in the United States. Easley pointed out that the FDA has never tested any GMO (genetically-modified organism) for human safety.
“Export markets are at risk with this discovery,” Easley said. “The Idaho Wheat Commission website shows that Idaho ranks fifth nationally for wheat export and, according to their website, was a 524 million dollar industry for Idaho in 2010. Discovery of GMO-wheat could hurt our economy significantly.” With 64 countries having either banned or required labeling of GMOs, many countries may halt trade with US farmers if they fear the wheat has been contaminated. According to the international news agency Reuters, Japan has already done so. Easley is making a public request to the Idaho Department of Agriculture to reconsider its recent decision not to test fields in Idaho for the Roundup-Ready gene.
In addition to trade concerns, Easley cited consumer concerns in the United States. For years the biotech industry and large food manufacturers have claimed that mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods is unnecessary. They point out that consumers who wish to avoid GMOs may buy organic or avoid crops, such as corn, soy, sugar beets, and canola which have been widely genetically-engineered. Monsanto indicates the corporation is not opposed to voluntary labeling.
Easley said that organic and voluntary labeling does not protect against cross contamination like we are seeing in wheat in Oregon or from an earlier case of rice contamination. This leaves American consumers who wish to avoid GMOs at risk of eating something they would choose to avoid.
GMO Free Idaho is calling on elected representatives, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration to support mandatory labeling of genetically-modified crops. “We need to have protections in place for farmers, consumers and our export markets.” Easley said. GMO Free Idaho will continue to educate the public about GMOs and to push for mandatory labeling of foods which contain genetically modified foods.
Source: GMO Free Idaho
Media Contact: Jenny Easley 208-571-6388 Leslie Stoddard 208-521-8997