Much of U.S. Food Supply Contaminated With Genetically Engineered DNA
Most ordinary crop seeds in the U.S. are contaminated with strands of genetically modified DNA, and unless federal regulations and farm practices are tightened considerably, the entire U.S. food supply will soon contain GM elements, says a report released yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Currently, the foreign DNA come from organisms ruled safe by federal regulators and occur at low levels. However, the report warns that the trend poses several dangers. If the U.S. supply is widely perceived as thoroughly contaminated, exports to GM-hostile countries (see: most of Europe) could be hurt, as could the burgeoning domestic market for organic food. More worrying, once GM organisms designed for pharmaceutical or industrial products become common, the contamination could pose a more serious health risk. As Margaret Mellon of UCS put it, “No one wants drugs or plastics in our cornflakes.” Representatives of the Biotechnology Industry Association said, in so many words, that genetic contamination is inevitable and other countries should get over it.
Get Grist in your inbox