It seems in the past few months there has been a rush of GMO foods deregulated, namely sugar beets and alfalfa. Both of which have a huge impact on our entire food system because of fears of contamination with organic crops. Sugar beets in particular, are grown in many contamination-sensitive areas like Oregon's Willamette Valley. Organic alfalfa, on the other hand, is a center point for feeding organic livestock. If our supply of organic alfalfa becomes tainted, then what will we feed livestock? And now on the heels of two hard fought and lost battles, GM plums are next up on the list.
Plums will be the second GM fruit introduced. The HoneySweet plum is modified to fend off the Plum pox, a damaging virus to the plum family, according to Organic Authority. A small dose of the virus is actually injected into the fruit so that the plum becomes resistant to the virus.
Organic Authority reported on how the plum planting will be controlled:
The HoneySweet experimental plantings have been closely monitored in isolated fruit tree orchards with an outer "guard" orchard of plum trees to help monitor the potential spread of GM plum pollen. To further reduce the risk of contamination during the development of HoneySweets, pruning wood was burned and all fruit was harvested and destroyed, including the pits.
"Approval of C5 (HoneySweet) will pave the way for more GE food and tree varieties, as well as guarantee the widespread genetic contamination of conventional and organic stone fruit varieties, including plums, peaches, cherries and apricots," says the Organic Consumers Association.
As far as I'm concerned, no matter what steps are taken to avoid contamination, the pollen from bees moving from GM tree to none GM tree could cause issues in the future. And if you're skeptical that such contamination could occur, take for example the papaya in Hawaii.
"In September of 2004, citizen groups announced that tests of nearly 20,000 papaya seeds on the island of Hawaii revealed that half of the seeds were genetically modified. Eighty percent were taken from organic farms and were not supposed to be genetically modified," said Jeffrey Smith, author of the book Seeds of Deception. "This is a prime example why co-existence and/or buffer zones cannot work."
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