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Legal action filed to halt planting of biotech crops containing pharmaceuticals citing human health and environmental risks. Coalition calls for an indefinite moratorium on all "biopharm" crops

December 16, 2002

Today, the GE Food Alert coalition took legal action against the Bush Administration to halt the planting of biopharm crops--crops genetically engineered to contain pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. The formal legal petition filed with the United States Department of Agriculture cites the serious human health and environmental risks associated with these gene altered plants and calls for:

  • An immediate moratorium on all planting of food crops genetically engineered with pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals;
  • Reform of the secret business information law that is used to hide important safety information from the public;
  • USDA to prepare Environmental Impact Statements for all biopharms;
  • Development of a public database for violations;
  • Strong mandatory regulations.

The legal action was filed in the wake of recent revelations about biocontamination in Iowa and Nebraska by corn and soy plants genetically engineered with an unknown pharmaceutical or industrial chemicals. On November 17th the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that there were two biocontamination incidents where genetically engineered crops products developed by the Prodigene Company polluted conventional crops. While ordering the destruction of the biotech crops and quarantining of the polluted conventional plants the USDA refused to divulge the details of the contamination. Repeated request by the GE Food Alert Coalition for a detailed account of the biocontamination have been refused.

"These biological pollution events are just the tip of the iceberg," stated Joseph Mendelson, Legal Director of the Center for Food Safety. "We have taken legal action to help ensure that numerous hazardous drugs, vaccines and industrial chemicals don't end up in our food supply," Mendelson concluded.

The GEFood Alert coalition has been highly critical of the federal government's inadequate regulations on all genetically engineered crops. The current pollution events further demonstrate the failure of the Bush Administration to ensure appropriate regulation for genetically altered foods. To view petition, click HERE.