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  • Community Manager's picture
    Community Manager
    @Seeking.the.Truth - I’m sorry you feel your question hasn’t been answered yet. Monsanto and the other company sponsors of this website are committed to carefully stewarding a product throughout its full life-cycle, including working closely with growers using their seeds. These companies are members of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS), a global industry-coordinated organization that promotes the adoption of stewardship programs and quality management systems for the full biotech plant life cycle. The program focuses on the responsible management of the technology to support regulatory compliance, achieve product integrity, and assist in the prevention of trade disruptions. For more information about ETS, click on this link: http://www.ExcellenceThroughStewardship.org.

    More specific to your question, the National Organic Program (NOP) guidelines indicate the organic producer, “certified operation”, is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the crop. According to 7 CFR § 205.201, “All organic or split production or handling operations must clearly describe their specific management practices that prevent commingling or contamination in their OSP (organic system plan). All certifying agents are responsible for verifying that certified operations have sufficient management practices in place to prevent the commingling and contamination of organic products with nonorganic products and prohibited substances. The OSP should specifically address the operation’s organic control points and the preventative measures employed to avoid the loss of organic integrity. The organic control points are the points where contamination and commingling could occur resulting in a loss of organic integrity. Depending on the type of operation, examples of organic control points can include organic and adjoining non-organic areas, receiving and storage areas for inputs and ingredients, processing equipment used for organic and non-organic products, adjacent lands and their associated land management practices (e.g., pesticide applications or use of genetically modified crops), and receiving areas for feed and inputs such as soil amendments.”

    Also, 7 CFR § 205.272, Commingling and contact with prohibited substance prevention practice standard, “the handler of an organic handling operation must implement measures necessary to prevent the commingling of organic and nonorganic products.”

    Additionally, a USDA Policy Memorandum dated April 15, 2011, regarding GMOs and organic production responds to similar concerns. Here are a few excerpts from this memo:

    Issue: How do organic producers avoid contact with GMOs?
    Reply: Organic producers utilize a variety of methods to avoid contact or the unintentional presence of GMOs including testing seed sources for GMO presence, delayed or early planting to get different flowering times for organic and GMO crops, cooperative agreements with neighbors to avoid planting GMO crops adjacent to organic crops, cutting or mowing alfalfa prior to flowering, posting signs to notify neighboring farmers of the location of organic fields, and thorough cleaning of farm equipment that has been used in non-organic crop production.

    Issue: What are organic producers required to do in order to avoid the presence of GMOs in their products?
    Reply: In order to become a certified organic operation, a producer must submit an organic system plan to a NOP accredited certifying agent for approval. The producer’s organic system plan must include a description of management practices and physical barriers established to prevent contact of organic crops with prohibited substances. Certifying agents evaluate the preventative practices and buffer zones to determine if they are adequate to avoid contact with GMOs.

    Issue: Could a farm's organic certification status be threatened if sufficient buffers and barriers are not established and inadvertent contact with GMO material occurs?
    Reply: Organic producers that implement preventive measures to avoid contact with GMOs will not have their certification threatened from the inadvertent presence of the products of excluded methods (GMOs). Crops grown on certified organic operation may be sold, labeled and represented as organic, even with the inadvertent presence.

    I hope this information answers your question. If not, please let me know.
  • Seeking.the.Truth's picture
    The answer did not address my question about what Monsanto does to take responsibility for their patented intellectual property contaminating an organic farmer's organic crops. Can we assume from the answer that Monsanto takes NO responsibility for it and the farmer is at the mercy of the buyers AND people purchasing the end product who believe organic is GMO-free are being deceived?
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