The U.S. government has announced two accidents in which soybean crops in Iowa and Nebraska were contaminated by corn from the previous year that was genetically-engineered to contain medicine. “This is a failure at an elementary level,” says Jane Rissler of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “They couldn’t distinguish corn from soybeans and remove them from a field. That’s like failing nursery school.”
The GM corn germinated from seeds left over from 2001 plantings by the company ProdiGene, despite the fact that the company was required to remove the plants and seeds completely from the fields. The genes in the ProdiGene corn can produce a variety of vaccines and industrial enzymes. To prevent any spread of the altered corn, the U.S. has ordered that 155 acres of surrounding corn be burned and that a half million bushels of soybean be quarantined, at a cost of nearly $3 million.
USDA spokesperson Ed Curlett says ??The system seems to have worked. We caught this crop before it entered the animal or human food chain.”
But plant geneticist Norman Ellstrand thinks we were lucky this time. “What if the GM corn had come up inside a corn field, instead of a soybean field?” he says. “It could have cross pollinated and you’d have no idea where it was.”
Should we be nervous about what?s in the food we eat? Kathleen Hart explains it all in ?Eating in the Dark,?click here.
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