Oregon organic farmers say cross-pollination could endanger their niche crops

Twenty years after the first commercial varieties of genetically modified foods went on sale, farmers have embraced biotech crops that now account for 90 percent of all U.S. cotton and corn and 93 percent of soybeans.

Paradoxically, this has boosted demand for organics by consumers seeking to avoid GMOs. Sales of such foods were $29 billion in 2012, up from $6.1 billion in 2000, according to the Organic Trade Association.

While gene-altered and organic foods share space on grocery shelves, the juxtaposition on farms has led to fears of cross-contamination as pollen blows across fields. Those fears have spawned lawsuits, referendums and even acts of vandalism: in June, 6,500 bioengineered sugar-beet plants in a Syngenta AG (SYNN) field in Jackson County, on Oregon’s southern border, were torn from the ground.

Related article:  Organic myth: No evidence that expensive 'natural' foods are healthier or better for the environment

Read the full original article: Oregon Seeds Sow Worries as GMO, Organic Crops Coexist

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