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Time for organic activists to stop spreading lies


Mischa Popoff

Author, Is It Organic? Mischa Popoff is the author of the critically-acclaimed book, Is it Organic? He earned a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan where he specialized in the history of nitrogen for fertilizer and warfare. He then worked as an Advanced Organic Farm and Process Inspector, inspecting over 500 organic farms and processing facilities on both sides of the border. He stopped inspecting when he realized there was no appetite in the industry to eliminate fraud and gross negligence, nor to improve the quality of organic food. He now works as a public speaker, political columnist and radio host.

Time for organic activists to stop spreading lies
By Mischa Popoff, former USDA-contract organic inspector

Wouldn’t business in North America be easy if you could just pass laws to put your competition out of business? That’s precisely what’s being attempted by anti-GMO organic activists across Canada today. Rather than win through competition in the free market, attempts are being made to either label foods containing genetically-modified ingredients like a pack of cigarettes, or to simply ban them outright.

Activists never tire of pretending that genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) pose a threat to organic farms and the very health of the American public, citing “alarming impacts on industrial agriculture” along with concern “about the long-term health of our nation’s soils, water, flora and fauna.”

But, stop and think… If there was any chance whatsoever that GMO crops might put organic farmers at risk, why didn’t organic stakeholders say so in their standards for organic production? And why has there never been a single organic farmer who’s been de-certified anywhere in Canada or the United States, let alone faced disciplinary action, for alleged “contamination” by GMOs?

Canada’s organic standards make no mention whatsoever of GMO crops contaminating or in any way undermining the organic integrity of organic crops. Full stop.

Either organic activists are ignorant of the actual rules of organic production, or they are willfully ignoring federal laws.

There is no basis to the activist claim that GMO crops “put our family farmers at risk,” or that they endanger the “health of our nation’s soils, water, flora and fauna.” In fact, such statements could very well be interpreted as defamatory being that they are based neither upon science nor, as mentioned, the very laws for organic production that organic stakeholders helped write!

The organic industry has grown exponentially over the very same time as the use of GMO crops on Canadian farms has grown. So why lie and pretend GMOs cause some sort of risk? Clearly if there was any threat posed by GMOs to organic farming, the organic industry in North America wouldn’t today be worth more than all of Major League Baseball. If anything, it would appear that the existence of GMOs is good for the organic industry, and has in fact proven profitable!

And yet, campaigns to force the labelling of GMO foods, alongside attempts to ban them outright, are “all, for lack of a better word, organic.” But is that really what being organic has come to mean? Attacking technologies that you disagree with?

On behalf of the hundreds-of-thousands of American farmers who choose to grow GMO crops, organic activists should be implored to stop spreading fear over this perfectly-safe and highly-beneficial form of agricultural technology.

Instead of attacking their competition with misguided and decidedly unscientific political gambits, organic activists should tend to their organic crops, and stand on their own merit.

Mischa Popoff is a former organic farmer and USDA-contract organic inspector and is the

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