Oregon legislature may let farmers sue for contamination from GMO crops
Published: May 27, 2019
Category: GMO News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
The Oregon legislature is considering a bill that would let farmers sue companies such as Bayer and Syngenta if those companies’ genetically engineered (GMO) seeds contaminate other crops.
Such contamination hurts farmers of organic and non-GMO crops because they lose premium prices for their crops if they are tested and found to contain GMOs. GMO crops can also escape their fields and become a nuisance for other farmers that is hard to eradicate. This has happened in Oregon where GMO bentgrass has escaped field trials and is now found growing around the state.
“If we want a safe and sustainable food supply, we have to protect the family farmers that are growing organic and conventional crops from contamination from genetically engineered crops—especially vegetable specialty seed growers,” said Amy Wong, a spokeswoman for Our Family Farms, a Medford-based nonprofit working on GMO contamination issues.
House Bill 2882 would allow landowners or tenants to seek three times actual economic damages if GMOs are present on their land without permission.
The bill would also allow residents to sue the corporations if GMOs are found on land owned or occupied by a public body in the area where they live.
GMO supporters oppose the bill, saying that farmers of GMO crops work hard to prevent such contamination.
The legislation is nearly identical to a bill considered in the 2017 Legislative session. That bill died in committee.
Advocacy groups in Benton, Lane, Josephine and Multnomah counties also were trying to ban genetically engineered crops.
Genetic engineering has been a hot topic in Oregon since 2013, when the legislature passed a bill banning local governments from regulating crops or seeds. It exempted Jackson County, which already had a bill to ban GMO crops on the ballot.
Source: The Statesman Journal
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