(NaturalHealth365) There is a scary plan – the first of its kind – to release genetically engineered (GE) moths into organic food crops in New York State. Up to 10,000 GE male diamondback moths are to be released – EACH WEEK – during the next three to four month cabbage planting cycle.
The plan is intended to control the spread of a particular type of caterpillar in New York organic cabbage crops. The genetically engineered males will pass on a lethal gene to the females when they mate, resulting in inviable female offspring.
Genetically engineered material left on organic food could lead to contamination and decertification
This plan is based on cursory research at best, and without any in-depth environmental impact assessments. While this frightening scenario is set to take place in New York state, its effects could be much more far-reaching. Moths can travel across state lines and beyond, leading to untold damage to organic crops and the food chain in general.
Plan opponents say that organic food will become contaminated with genetically engineered material. The engineered trait will cause dead GE moth larvae and pupae to be left behind on the crops. These residues could threaten the organic standing of the food crops and lead to decertification. Viable DBMs could also be released, which could further damage the crops.
Cornell University not required to conduct impact studies or obtain insect release permit
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has ruled there will be “no major impact” to the environment from this plan, which is backed by Cornell University. However, the group has failed to consider contamination issues for the state of New York, its organic food crops and beyond. Groups like the Center for Food Safety, GeneWatch UK and Food and Water Watch have also raised concerns.
This plan is the first of its kind to use genetically engineered insects as a defense against pests. This technology has never been used on a food source, let alone an organic one. The fact that in-depth impact studies have not been conducted before launch is troubling to say the least.
New York state law includes a State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) that requires a state agency to review any action that could affect the environment. Cornell University is required to have a permit to release the moths under New York Environmental Conservation Law §11-0507, and it has obtained permits when releasing caged insects in the past.
Take action to stop the release of genetically engineered moths into organic food!
However, in this case they are not being required to adhere to the permitting process. At this time, enforcement is up to state citizens. The DEC website states that anyone who is able to demonstrate that harm could come from a project can take legal action to stop it. In the past, New York courts have ruled favorably toward protecting the environment and organic food crops.
If you want to help stop this invasive plan, click here to tell the New York Department of Conservation, Cornell University and Governor Cuomo to halt this plan until a thorough environmental impact study is conducted.
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