GENTECH archive


International Federation of Organic Farming Movements declaration against geneticengineering

[exerpt from:]

December, 1998

Organizations from sixty countries attending the yearly conference of the
International Federation of Organic Farming Movements at  Mar del Plata,
Argentina ratified a declaration against the use of genetic engineering on the
21st of November:

"IFOAM is calling for governments and regulatory agencies throughout the
    world to immediately ban the use of genetic engineering in agriculture and
    food production since it involves:
 Unacceptable threats to human health
 Negative and irreversible environmental impacts
 Release of organisms of a non-recallable nature
 Removal of the right of choice, both for farmers and consumers
 Violation of farmersí fundamental property rights and endangerment of
    their economic independence
 Practices which are incompatible with the principles of sustainable
    agriculture as defined by IFOAM".

While the GEO/GMO controversy continues unabated in Europe at high levels of
political and regulatory government, kindred spirits in the United States are
finally making some headway with the press and government officials. It was
reported  frequently last month  that USDA  Secretary Dan Glickman was
concerned about the issues raised by Michael Pollanís cover article " Fried,
Mashed or Zapped With DNA?" in the October 24 issue of the New York Times

Getting the mainstream media to cover this issue has been an uphill struggle.
Civil disobedience is one avenue that results in some coverage, whether its a
pie in the face for Robert Shapiro, the CEO of Monsanto, or an illegal potato
harvest in Scotland with the video cameras running. The destruction of GEO/GMO
test planting sites in the United Kingdom and Europe have been going on for
over a year. In California, protesters partially destroyed a University of
California GMO crop, and in India the Karnataka State Farmers Association has
begun "cremating" fields planted to genetically engineered cotton. Farm
leaders in Maharastra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh states had similar actions
underway in the last week of November.

Genetic engineering technology is going to be the biggest threat to
sustainable organic agriculture for years to come. Because it is molecular and
non-degradable it pervades, and invades forever, microbial soil technologies,
livestock feeds and supplements, raw and processed human foods and vitamins,
and should cause us to ask questions about sources  of manures, seeds, and
organic fertility inputs like cotton seed meal and alfalfa meal. Corn gluten
is being hailed as a good potential herbicide in organic systems. Should we
use it if it comes from genetically modified corn?