Published: October 2, 2019

Category: GMO 2.0, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

Letter of opposition delivered to Secretary of Agriculture signed by 79 organizations

The Organic Farmers Association (OFA) recently delivered a letter of opposition to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, in response to a statement made by Department Under Secretary Greg Ibach concerning opening a dialogue about the use of gene-editing in organic agriculture.

The letter, signed by 79 organic farm organizations from across the nation, strongly opposed any form of genetic engineering into the organic standard and expressed opposition to dialogue about its possible inclusion. OFA urged the Department to build the organic market by instead focusing on building healthy soil and addressing the core issues affecting the domestic organic market today.

“Introducing any dialogue about any form of genetic engineering into organics would be a major distraction for the USDA NOP and the National Organic Standards Board,” said Kate Mendenhall, Director of Organic Farmers Association. “We have crucial issues in organic agriculture that need the Department’s full attention, such as stopping organic import fraud, closing certification loopholes, enforcing our current organic standards equitably and uniformly, and updating obsolete database technology.”

During a House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee meeting on July 17, 2019, Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Greg Ibach expressed interest in opening the discussion surrounding gene editing technologies and their possible uses in advancing organic agriculture.

Gene editing and all other forms of genetic engineering are currently prohibited under the guidelines of organic certification.

Organic Farmers Association and the seventy-eight additional organic farm organizations are united in their refusal to revisit the conversation of genetic engineering and strongly oppose any attempt by the Department or its leadership to reintroduce the topic within the organic guidelines.

Source: Organic Farming Organization