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USDA Finds 20% of Farmers Violating Biotech Corn Rules

In a further example of the inadequate regulations governing genetically engineered foods in the United States, a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates 20 percent of farmers are violating the law on properly planting biotech corn. The farmers in violation are not planting the refuge barrier around the genetically engineered corn as required.

Although this article does not address the issue from this perspective, it should be noted that the violation of these regulations are a direct assault of organic corn for two reasons. First, the lack of the refuge barrier allows pollen from the genetically engineered corn to more easily blow into organic corn fields. And two, the lack of the refuge barrier allows insects to more rapidly develop immunity to the toxin Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) from overexposure. Organic farmers use a spray form of Bt when needed. But that spray form of Bt is losing effectiveness as more and more insects become overexposed to the Bt toxin genetically engineered into the biotech corn.

This is an especially appalling issue as I mention in Wednesday's newsletter, as the United States grows more GM crops than any country in the world.

Washington Post September 10, 2003

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