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GE NEWS ARCHIVE
Mothers for Natural Law
Genetically Engineered Crops
For recent articles on GE crops
The Organic Consumers Association.
The following is a list of genetically engineered crops
that have already been approved for sale:
- corn, including popcorn and sweet corn but not
- potatoes (Atlantic, Russett Burbank, Russet
Norkatah, and Shepody)
- red-hearted chicory (radicchio)
- squash (yellow crookneck)
- sugar beet
- tomatoes, including cherry tomatoes
GE canola, corn, cotton, and soy are the crops
whose derivatives are commonly found in packaged foods.
GE flax was approved for release but has not yet
been planted. Genetically engineered seed was multiplied in Canada, but
the Flax Council of Canada successfully petitioned against planting. The
600,000 bushels of multiplied seed were crushed and, as far as we can
tell, did not directly enter our food supply.
GE potato planting has gone way down. It appears
that consumer concerns have caused the major buyers to favor genetically
natural potatoes. Note that not all Atlantic, Russett Burbank, Russet
Norkatah, and Shepody potatoes are genetically engineered.
GE radicchio was never commercialized. Approval
was voluntarily withdrawn on 2 Feb 2000.
GE squash approval was originally for the yellow
crook-neck variety. However, the approval may be taken to cover all varieties
of squash. Thus, application of the same technology to other varieties
either through genetic engineering, breeding, or natural cross pollination
would not require separate approval by government agencies. There are
now other varieties of genetically engineered squash, including straightneck
yellow squash and two strains of zucchini, "declaration 2" and "independence
2", both of which are medium green in color.
GE tomatoes are no longer on the market. Genetically
engineered regular tomatoes and one cherry tomato have been approved for
sale, but no genetically engineered roma or plum tomatoes. However, it
appears that the FlavrSavr was the only tomato to be commercialized, and
planting of that variety ceased years ago.
The list could be extended to include recombinant
bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a hormone produced by genetically modified
organisms. Dairy products from cows injected with rBGH may differ from
other dairy products in having higher levels of antiobiotics, white blood
cells, and growth hormone factor IGF-1. There may be other differences
due to the stress and hormonal cascades created by rBGH in the cow. For
more details, visit the Fox-BGH lawsuit
Several agricultural inputs, such as soil bacteria
that produce the Bt toxin, and a rabies vaccine have also been approved.
For more details on the approved genetically engineered
crop varieties, access the Union of Concerned Scientists March
2000 summary, or the International Center for Technology Assessment
list of genetically engineered
The list of approvals for Canada may be found on
the website of the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency.
Among genetically engineered animals, salmon is
the closest to approval. For a May 2000 report, read Stalking
the wild Frankensalmon at Salon.com. See also articles in ge-news
on this site: 1999-09-03, 1999-10-16,
Much of the detailed information provided above
was brought to our attention by Marc
Olesky, an agricultural consultant who has spent the last year probing
the realities of the market in genetically angineered crops.