U.S. Crop Seeds Contaminated

Consumers who want alternatives to genetically engineered (GE) food have sought products grown from traditional, non-GE seeds. Consumers take the availability of such seeds, and the ability of farmers to grow them, for granted.

The findings of a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists shatter this assumption. Laboratory testing of traditional varieties of corn, soybean, and canola seeds revealed widespread contamination by DNA from commercial GE crops.

These findings suggest that current federal regulations are inadequate to protect our seed supply from the next generation of GE crops – those engineered to produce drugs and industrial chemicals. Contamination of the traditional seed supply by these crops could result in farmers unwittingly planting, harvesting, and selling a crop that looks like its traditional counterpart to the naked eye. This product could then be processed and end up on our tables as drug-laced corn flakes and other consumer items.

Sign this petition to protect our nation's seed supply! Urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to amend federal regulations to explicitly protect the seed supply from contamination by engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops.

Dear Administrator Acord,

Gone to Seed, a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), found that seeds of traditional varieties of corn, soybeans, and canola are pervasively contaminated with DNA from genetically engineered (GE) crops. I am writing to ask you to immediately amend federal pharmaceutical (pharm) and industrial crop regulations to explicitly protect the seed supply for food and feed crops from contamination by these genes and seeds.

UCS commissioned laboratory tests of traditional (non-GE) seeds of corn, soybeans, and canola which documented the presence of genes commonly used in commercial GE crops. I feel that these findings suggest inadequate government standards to protect seed supplies, and ultimately the nation’s food, from contaminants originating in pharm and industrial crops.

As you know, pharm and industrial crops are genetically engineered to produce drugs, vaccines, antibodies, and research and industrial chemicals. This emerging field of biotechnology essentially turns common food crops like corn into biological factories. While proponents of such crops promise benefits such as cheaper medicines and other consumer products, the drugs or industrial products they produce could be harmful to human health if unintentionally consumed.

Existing federal regulations attempt to keep pharm and industrial crops separate from food and feed crops, but they do not specifically address the issue of seed supply contamination. Now that we know that seed supplies are vulnerable to contamination we must protect them from pharm and industrial crop genes and seeds. If farmers grow crops using seed contaminated by pharm and industrial crop genes, they might unwittingly harvest and market crops that look like traditional food crops to the naked eye. Some of this contaminated harvest may make its way into food products. Consumers would be unaware that they were serving their children drug-laced corn flakes.

The federal government must act now to protect the seed supply, and ultimately my food, from contamination by pharm and industrial crops. I urge you to immediately amend federal pharm and industrial crop regulations to explicitly protect the seed supply for food and feed crops from contamination by these genes and seeds.

Sincerely,
The Undersigned
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