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Don’t Forget About Genetic Engineering

Don’t Forget About Genetic Engineering

Mar 20, 2007 March 20, 2007

LadybugBack in ’01-’02, well before Oceans as Wilderness, our environmental focus was on genetic engineering. While there were some victories associated with that campaign, the issue has not gone away. The following action alert came from one of our environmental grantees in California. Hopefully, more states will follow suit.

Support New Legislation Protecting Communities and Farmers from Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops

Assemblymember Jared Huffman (6th AD) has introduced AB 541, The Food and Farm Protection Act. The bill would establish California’s only state laws related to genetic engineering (GE) in agriculture and protect California farmers, consumers, and the food supply. The Environmental Defense Center has endorsed AB 541, and the bill is quickly gaining support from other agricultural, environmental, health, faith and business organizations.

WHAT: AB 541 – Food and Farm Protection Act:
Send comments to Assembly Agriculture Committee

WHEN: ASAP

WHERE: The Honorable Nicole Parra
Chair, Assembly Agriculture Committee
1020 N Street, Room 362
Sacramento, CA  95814
Email: brandon.sanders@asm.ca.gov
Fax: (916) 319 – 2184

ALSO please send copy to:
Assemblyman Huffman Jared Huffman
Email: rebecca.darling@asm.ca.gov
Fax: (916) 319 – 2106

OVERVIEW OF AB 541
The State of California has no policiesregulating GE crops, and the federal government is failing in itsoversight role. Given this regulatory void, eight counties attempted topass local restrictions on GE crops, four of which now have county bansor moratoria on GE crop production in place. In the 2005/06 legislativesession, biotechnology and agribusiness interests sponsored a bill thatwould have pre-empted local authority over GE, but failed due to agroundswell of opposition from grassroots organizations, citizens, andelected officials around the state. AB 541 will put in place a coherentpolicy that addresses the risk of GE contamination, without banning anyGE crop.

AB 541 protects California farmers and the food supply in four ways:

  1. Establishes the right of farmers and landowners to compensation foreconomic losses due to genetic contamination of their crops
  2. Protects farmers from being sued by a GE manufacturer if their crop is contaminated by that company’s GE product.
  3. Establishes a county-level GE crop notification process so that farmers can trace contamination to the GE manufacturer
  4. Protects the food supply by prohibiting the open-field cultivation ofgenetically engineered food crops used to produce drugs and biologicssuch as hormones and antibiotics.

To read a longer summary of the issue, please refer to the PositionPaper posted on the web site of the Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance.

It is very important that Assemblymember Huffman’s office alsoreceive a copy of your letter. Please send a copy for their recordsAttn: Rebecca Darling or fax 916-319-2106.

[With thanks to the Environmental Defense Center; Photo: Organic seedlings and ladybug. By: Free]

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