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Protecting Organic Agriculture from GMO Contamination


OTA Policy Position

OTA shall also adopt policies that address the problems the industry shall face as a result of continued GMO deregulation. OTA shall also advocate for policies that assign the cost of contamination prevention and market loss to the developers of GMO technology. OTA shall also educate the public and policy makers regarding the environmental and health concerns emerging with GMO’s.

OTA Action

OTA Executive Director Laura Batcha sits on the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture – a committee that advises the Secretary of Agriculture on issues related to the application of biotechnology in agriculture, and coexistence among different agricultural production methods.  This committee, known as AC21, meets 3-4 times per year in public session to discuss these issues.  Please contact Laura if you have any questions, input, or concerns.

OTA Action

OTA successfully advocated for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to pass a recommendation to USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) to develop guidance on GMO contamination prevention strategies. OTA also continues to advocate for additional training and guidance on GMO testing to be used as a tool to monitor effective GMO contamination prevention plans.

OTA Action

The National Organic Program (NOP) published a Final Rule on Periodic Residue Testing in November 2012. OTA strongly supported the requirement for periodic residue testing, as set forth in Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), however we noted several areas in the proposed rule that could be clarified in order to enhance the quality and utility of the residue-testing program. One of these areas included clarification that the residue testing requirements may be applied to any prohibited substance OR EXCLUDED METHOD such as GMOs. OTA is pleased to report that our efforts were successful and all of our requested changes were captured in the final rule.

Read OTA’s comments on residue testing:


Read OTA’s comments on co-existence:

Enhancing ag co-existence (APHIS - March 4, 2014 – 2013-0047) New & proposed co-existence activities (APHIS - April 11, 2015) Permits for field-testing unregulated GE crops (APHIS – October 23, 2015 -2015-0070)