Response to comment to Wall Street Journal article: “Organic Food Protectionists”
By Ken Roseboro
Published: November 3, 2014
Category: The Non-GMO Blog
In his comment about the article, “Organic Food Protectionists,” Dr. Daniel F. Borgen, M.D., said that organic farmers could oppose mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. To back his case, Dr. Borgen quotes from an article I had written titled, “To test or not to test organics for GMOs” in the July/August 2009 issue of The Organic & Non-GMO Report.
However, Dr. Borgen misrepresents the meaning of the article, which is about non-GMO labeling and not mandatory GMO labeling. The article never states that organic farmers are concerned about the impact of mandatory GMO labeling. The article describes organic industry member concerns about the requirements of the Non-GMO Project label.
The quote he mentions is from Katherine DiMatteo, former executive director of the Organic Trade Association. Here is the full excerpt from my article. The text in bold is what Dr. Borgen quoted in his comment:
Katherine DiMatteo argued against adding a non-GMO labeling standard to organic. A non-GMO label, she said, moves organic from being a process guarantee to being an end product guarantee.
She said using GMO testing as a tool for improvement in organics is fine, but opposes non-GMO labeling based on testing. “Don’t add a guarantee that we can’t live up to and don’t force organic farmers and processors to live up to a (non-GMO) standard.”
Such a (non-GMO) standard, DiMatteo said, will hurt the organic market because consumers may fear that organic products that aren’t labeled non-GMO will be GMO.
As one can easily see, the full text presents a very different perspective than what Dr. Borgen presented. I suggest that Dr. Borgen re-read my article to see how he misrepresented it and recognize his mistake.
Further, I would say that most organic farmers support mandatory GMO labeling and some organic farming groups have issued statements to this effect.