Organic farmers throughout the Canadian province of Ontario are counting the days until they officially lose their organic certifications as a result of potential commercial plantings of genetically-modified (GM) alfalfa. Like in the U.S., government officials in Canada recently approved plantings of GM alfalfa, even though the crop is wholly unnecessary, and will forever taint the integrity of non-GM and organic varieties of alfalfa, as well as other crops.
As reported by Global Toronto, an upcoming meeting between conventional farmers and seed growers in Canada is set to iron out the details for how GM alfalfa will be implemented into the food supply commercially. And in the process, many organic farmers who rely on clean, non-GM alfalfa are having their valid concerns ignored by both the factory farming industry and government officials who are more interested in satisfying the demands of Monsanto than protecting the integrity of alfalfa.
“The consensus among food scientists is that once it’s out there, it inevitably will contaminate the entire seed supply,” says Ted Zettel from the Canadian Organic Federation about GM alfalfa. “What that means is that we won’t be able to grow the quality of feed for our cattle that we need to grow in order to meet the standard that’s been established worldwide for organic food.”
As we reported on previously, natural alfalfa already grows quite well without the need for herbicides or pesticides, which makes Monsanto’s chemical-resistant GM variety completely pointless. Alfalfa is also a highly volatile plant because it is a perennial, which makes the likelihood of widespread contamination with GM traits from the GM variety much more than just a possibility — it is an absolute given in the long term.
But rather than protect the organic industry, as well as the integrity of the entire food supply, from irreversible genetic corruption, industry forces are pushing to actually redefine organics to legally include small traces of GMOs. This would mean that “organic” food could legally be defiled with a certain percentage of GM pollution and still be considered organic, an incredible deception that will inevitably lead to drastic repercussions for the world’s supply of untainted food.
“So many other countries have banned [GMOs] in their food system. Once our alfalfa is contaminated, there are very few countries in the world that are going to want an export of ours,” says Sarah Dobec from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network‘s “Stop GM Alfalfa” campaign. Canada currently exports roughly $29 million worth of alfalfa every year, an amount that could eventually plummet to $0, should the nation’s alfalfa supply be taken over by mutant GM varieties.
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