Stu Smith's picture
How does GMO manufacturers deal with DRIFTING? Drifting occurs when patented GMO seeds blow in an organic farmer's crop and contaminate it. Since GMOs are patented how does that help farmers if they face litigation from a natural occurrence of drifting? How do the corporations that engineer GMOs and grow them into our environment stop a monopoly from happening if all non-GMOs become contaminated resulting in those crops being owned by the corporations while the organic farmer's organic certification becomes revoked?

A:Expert Answer

The issue of pollen flow has been important to seed companies and scientists for years. Because corn is an open pollinating plant, it is important to our business to understand how far pollen travels and under what conditions. Managing that pollen flow is important to developing new hybrids and producing a high quality seed crop – regardless of whether that seed is GM or not.

We’re not aware that organic certification has ever been revoked due to the inadvertent presence of GM material in an organic crop. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as long as an organic grower has not intentionally planted GM seed and has taken reasonable steps to avoid contact with GM pollen or seed, the detection of a low level of GM material in a crop does not constitute a violation of National Organic Program standards. And, DuPont Pioneer has never sued a farmer because of the inadvertent presence of patented biotech traits in a farmer’s field and we’re not aware any other company has either. For the perspective of an organic farmer on this issue, read this response from Don Cameron to a similar question.

One of the things that makes U.S. agriculture great is that all types of farms and farming practices can coexist. We provide seeds to farmers who choose a variety of production methods for their farms – organic, conventional, biotech and many combinations of those. Our goal is to help each farmer succeed with the production method they choose, including providing them with the highest quality seed possible and advice to help ensure a successful growing season and harvest.


Stu Smith's picture

Read this article. It explains this issue is the biggest threat to our food democracy.

Community Manager's picture

The lawsuit this article refers to has been addressed on our site. Please see the following excerpt from Greg Conko: "In 2011, the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association and several other organizations filed a lawsuit seeking a judgment that farmers should not be liable when patented biotech plants are found unintentionally growing in their fields. But the plaintiffs could offer not a single example of a case where this had actually occurred, so the court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that there was no dispute to be resolved. The court explicitly held that every lawsuit the trade association offered as evidence of the biotech company¹s bad behavior involved a farmer who had intentionally planted patented seeds. It further concluded that the trade association¹s demand ³seems to have been nothing more than an attempt to create a controversy where none exists.²"
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