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18 E YE ON G ENETIC E NGINEERING organic and the best practices for prevention at critical control points in the supply chain. OTA shall advocate for policies that assign the cost of contamination prevention and market loss to the developers of GMO technology. OTA recognizes the critical role of seed in the supply chain and shall advocate for policies that secure a seed supply to the organic sector that is free of GMOs. To that end, OTA shall advocate for a seed purity standard; OTA shall advocate for more robust germplasm repositories for non-GMO seed; and OTA shall advocate for re-emphasis of classical plant breeding. OTA shall educate the public and policy makers regarding the environment and health concerns emerging with GMOs. OTA shall educate the public on the extent to which organic farmers, food and fiber manufacturers work to prevent GMOs from entering the organic supply chain. OTA shall educate policy makers on the challenges to agriculture from transgene flow and low-level contamination of organic crops by GMOs as they relate to meeting marketplace and consumer expectations. Board updates OTA’s position on GMOs O TA’s Board of Directors in July reviewed, revised and voted to adopt an updated policy position on GMOs. The following statements are included in this new position. OTA shall continue to call for a moratorium on GMOs in agriculture. OTA shall adopt policy positions that uphold the long-term goal of a moratorium on GMOs. Until that goal is reached: deregulation. It shall adopt policy positions that lead to a review of currently deregulated crops under an improved framework. OTA shall directly engage in dialog with agencies and Congress regarding GMO policy. OTA shall bolster organic as the gold standard by advocating for continuous improvement of the organic practice standard. OTA shall adopt policy positions that strengthen the organic standards to minimize GMO OTA supports mandatory labeling of contamination & increase enforcement all agricultural GMOs and their on the prohibition of the use of GMO products. OTA supports the consumer’s crop varieties while minimizing the right to know, and to choose foods, fiber negative impact to farmers. OTA shall and personal care products based on advocate for GMO testing by certifiers as environmental, personal health, part of the requirement for periodic religious, dietary or other preferences. residue testing to verify compliance and Labeling of GMO seed, products grown enforcement of the standards. OTA shall from GMO seed or stock, or made with adopt policies that encourage the ingredients and byproducts of GMO reduction of testing costs to organic crops is necessary for farmer, supply farmers, handlers, and certifiers chain and consumer choice. wherever possible. OTA supports the incorporation of a GMO threshold, for OTA shall also adopt policies that crops that have genetically engineered address the problems the industry counterparts, into the NOP regulations shall face as a result of continued GMO deregulation. OTA will advocate at the appropriate time. OTA will work with industry stakeholders, the NOSB, for a more robust regulatory and NOP to that end. OTA shall framework for federal oversight of facilitate data collection and analysis on GMO crops that includes economic, the extent of low-level contamination or environmental and human health adventitious presence of GMOs in impacts of GMO crops petitioned for GE-related research • Bt toxin in human blood: A study accepted for publication in the journal Reproductive Toxicology conducted by scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, Canada, reports the presence of Bt toxin, widely used in GE crops, in human blood. Although scientists and multinational corporations promoting GE crops have maintained that Bt toxin poses no danger to human health as the protein, Cry1Ab, breaks down in the human gut, the findings from this study show this does not happen, and instead found it circulating in the THE ORGANIC REPORT • blood of pregnant and non-pregnant women. The study also detected the toxin in fetal blood. Cry1Ab toxin was detected in 93 percent and 80 percent of maternal and fetal blood samples, respectively, and in 69 percent of tested blood samples from nonpregnant women. • GMOs Linked to Monarch Butterflies’ Decline: GMOs have been linked to a number of environmental problems, including the rise of superweeds, the increased use of pesticides, and a loss of biodiversity. A new study raises concerns about the effects of GMOs on monarch butterflies. The use of crops genetically engineered to resist pesticide applications has resulted in the decline of milkweed, a weed that is key to monarch butterflies’ survival. (Monarch butterflies depend on access to milkweed to lay their eggs and to feed their larvae). According to the new study, published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, this decline may be a contributing factor in the decline of the monarch butterfly population. • Herbicide resistance: At least 21 weed species have developed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), and some weeds are also developing resistance to alternative herbicides, according to articles published in the SUMMER 2011