On Dec. 9, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced commonsense legislation that would prohibit open-air cultivation of Genetically Engineered (GE) pharmaceutical and industrial crops, preventing biological contamination of our food supply. The bill would also establish a tracking system to regulate and ensure the safety of GE pharmaceutical and industrial crops.
“We must take steps to prevent genetically engineered organisms from being grown in a way that could do irreversible damage to our food supply. Under pressure from profit-minded industry, we have already allowed the spread of genetically modified crops into our agriculture at great cost to our economy and with unknown effects on our bodies,” said Kucinich.
The Department of Agriculture has allowed more than 300 outdoor field trials of plants—including feed crops including corn, soybeans, rice, safflower, barley, alfalfa, mustard greens, peas, sugarcane, tomatoes, and wheat—which are genetically engineered to produce experimental pharmaceuticals, industrial enzymes and novel proteins. Those GE substances are not intended to be incorporated into food or to be spread into the environment or our food supply. Yet there are examples of such contamination, with enormously destructive consequences.
“Many Americans are unaware that crops that are genetically engineered to produce experimental pharmaceutical drugs are being grown in this country in the open, allowing them to contaminate conventional crops without detection. We cannot rely on industry to prevent the unintended spread of genetically engineered organisms,” said Kucinich.
H.R. 3554, The Genetically Engineered Safety Act, which would prohibit the open-air cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) pharmaceutical and industrial crops. The bill would prohibit the use of common human food or animal feed as the host plant for a genetically engineered pharmaceutical or industrial chemical. H.R. 3554 would also establish a tracking system to regulate the growing, handling, transportation, and disposal of pharmaceutical and industrial crops protect native ecosystems and traditional farms from the unstudied dangers of growing GE organisms. The legislation is part of a package of bills introduced by Kucinich, which includes H.R. 3553, the GE Right to Know Act.
“We have taken few steps to ensure that our own genetic experiments are kept in check. This commonsense legislation would simply ensure that our experimentation with genetic engineering and cloning do not disrupt our traditional food supply. When you are talking about the safety and stability of the food supply, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Kucinich.