The argument that pollen drift from GM crops will contaminate neighboring organic farmers’ fields, making their crop not able to be sold, is simply not true.
The practice of farmers successfully growing and marketing crops – whether biotech, conventional or organic – in close proximity is known as coexistence. Farmers have been successfully practicing coexistence for years.
In any working agricultural production system, incidental commingling of trace amounts of seed, grain or food product with another occurs. This is a reality of plant biology, seed production and the distribution of commodity crops, and was occurring long before the development of biotech products. Still, not one organically certified farm has lost its US Department of Agriculture certification due to the presence of commingled biotech plant material since the beginning of the federal National Organic Program (NOP). It’s important to remember that commingling is not a safety issue, as the biotech crop has already obtained full regulatory authorizations.
Recently the USDA National Organic Program updated and clarified its policy regarding organic and biotech processes and co-existence. In short, USDA has said that the inadvertent presence of a biotech trait does not affect the status of a certified organic crop to be marketed as certified organic.
According to USDA, the detectable presence of GE material in a crop does not constitute a violation of NOP standards and regulations, as long as a grower has not intentionally planted GE seed and has taken reasonable steps to avoid contact with GE pollen or seed or both.
Monsanto believes farmers should have the freedom to choose the production method best suited for their needs, whether organic, conventional, or products improved through biotechnology. All of the agricultural systems can and do work effectively side by side and contribute to the varied needs of different consumers and meeting the demands of a growing population.