Organic Farmers Association rejects USDA offer to discuss benefits of CRISPR gene editing

| September 23, 2019
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Organic grower groups on Sept. 17 wrote they are strongly opposed to opening a formal dialogue about allowing gene-editing in organic agriculture.

A letter from the Organic Farmers Association (OFA), was signed by 79 organic farm organizations and sent to Secretary Sonny Perdue and other top officials and lawmakers.

“Introducing any dialogue about any form of genetic engineering into organics would be a major distraction for the USDA NOP and the National Organic Standards Board,” Kate Mendenhall, director of OFA, said in a press release. “We have crucial issues in organic agriculture that need the Department’s full attention, such as stopping organic import fraud, closing certification loopholes, enforcing our current organic standards equitably and uniformly, and updating obsolete database technology.”

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Gene editing and all other forms of genetic engineering are currently prohibited under the guidelines of organic certification. The letter came in response to an earlier statement by Department Undersecretary Greg Ibach concerning opening a dialogue about gene-editing in organic agriculture.

Read full, original article: Organic growers: Gene-editing dialogue a bad idea

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