Viewpoint: Organic farmers should be allowed to grow GM crops

Organic Do Not Spray
Credit: The Organic and Non-GMO Report

Consumers are misinformed about the reality of the existing organic system. Current organic practices are no more “natural” than GM practices. Organic seeds have been highly selected through breeding practices. For example, the organic corn of the 21st century is nothing like the “natural” corn that it was derived from centuries ago. Rigorous and intensive selective breeding and large-scale organic practices mimic and often exceed conventional agriculture in size and resource intensity. 

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The current policy that GMOs cannot be included in organic food production is outdated. Substantial research since the adoption of the GMO restriction in organic foods has clearly demonstrated safety. Policy change, and if necessary, legislation that allows GMOs to be used in organic farming, and the exclusion of recombinant DNA technology from the definition of “excluded methods” that is presently part of the US CFR are needed. 

To sustain best practices, food safety should continue to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the production of GM seeds should follow the same standards for organic production, and GM products should undergo the same certification methods as traditional organic crops. Genetically modified organisms may provide a sustainable solution to traditional farming by increasing crop yields and decreasing the amount of pesticides and herbicides used. Therefore, GMOs should be allowed to fall within the definition of organic.

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