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Crop Biotech Update

US Plant Scientists Oppose Ordinance Prohibiting Planting GMOs, Cite Their Benefits Instead

August 4, 2021

In a letter to the Chair of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) urged the board not to support Measure M, an ordinance that prohibits the planting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the California county, citing it as anti-science and harmful to American agriculture.

Measure M states that "it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically modified organisms in Humboldt County." The penalties include the confiscation and destruction of planted GMOs, and monetary penalty and/or imprisonment of anyone found to be violating the ordinance.

In their letter, the ASPB stated that jailing of farmers or researchers for the use of safe innovative technologies is unjust, anti-science, and damaging to the US agriculture industry. They collectively reiterated that GM foods are safe to eat according to years of scientific literature and that the advancement of modern biotechnology has led to the reduction of pesticide usage and fewer diseases. Moreover, genetic engineering can produce healthier and safer foods compared to traditional plant breeding technologies. The group also emphasized to the County Board that "biotechnology and genetic engineering of crops hold great promise for agriculture in developing countries." They also stated that Measure M is a badly flawed proposed ordinance that will harm future study and farming using modern crop biotech applications.

Learn more by reading the full letter published in EurekaAlert! of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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