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Genetically Modified Insects Could Put Organic Farmers At Risk And Disrupt International Food Trade

Genetically modified organisms for pest control could end up as contaminants in agricultural products throughout the globe.

“There’s a fly in my soup.” This statement conjures up the image of a dead fly in a bowl of soup rather than a genetically modified insect being served up with organic vegetables. However, this is not a totally unrealistic scenario as experimental releases of genetically modified insects have been approved by US regulators in 2014 very near farming areas. The question is whether fruit and vegetables exported from the USA to Europe and China can be sold under the “organic” label if genetically modified insects have developed on them.

Guy Reeves from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany and Martin Phillipson Dean of Law at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, are drawing attention to this problem. In their view, clarifying statements on the part of US regulators is required to ensure that producers of organic commodities do not have to fear for their reputation.

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