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[SANET-MG] transgenic plums
The APHIS review of transgenic virus resistant plums is still open for
comment. In the past days a question came up about the impact of the GM
plums on bees. Study of the USDA documents on the plums fails to uncover
any reports on the impact of the transgenic plums on bee mortality and
behavior. Since bees are the pollinators for plums the bees should have
been studied. The small resistance RNA produced in the plum may impact
the bee as similar RNA has been observed to be active across widely
Since plums are pollinated by bees it is not surprising that the
transgenic plum pollinates plums a long distance from the field of GM
fruit.The actual fruit of the plum will not be transgenic while the pits
of the fruit will be GM. Interestingly, USDA deems that accidentally
GM pollinated organic fruit is still organic.They do not comment on the
patent issue US produces about 80% of the world prune export market and
countries which look for transgenes in prune flesh will not find
transgenes, but if whole prunes are measured the seed transgenes will
The comment on organic plums and transgenic plums form the USDA petition
is as follows:
"The presence of a detectable residue of a product of excluded methods
alone does not
necessarily constitute a violation of the National Organic Standards.
presence of the products of excluded methods will not affect the status
of an organic
product or operation when the operation has not used excluded methods
and has taken
reasonable steps to avoid contact with the products of excluded methods
as detailed in
their approved organic system plan. Organic certification of a
production or handling
operation is a process claim, not a product claim.
It is not likely that organic farmers, or other farmers who choose not
to plant transgenic
varieties or sell transgenic plum, will be significantly impacted by the
commercial use of this product since: (a) nontransgenic plum will likely
still be sold and
will be readily available to those who wish to plant it; (b) plum trees
grafting and growers purchasing bud wood or grafted plants will know
that this product is
transgenic because it will be marketed as plum pox virus resistant plum.
decreasing the overall incidence of plum pox in conventional orchards
may lower the
likelihood of an organic orchard becoming infected." A slick way to
avoid labeling the stocks to be transgenic!
To make comments on line visit Regulation.gov :
http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main scroll down to
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. On that page find U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service; Availability
of Petition and Environmental Assessment for Determination of
Nonregulated Status for Plum Genetically Engineered for Resistance to
Plum Pox. There you may comment directly or attach a file in pdf format
or in Word format.
Organic plum producers may feel protected by the USDA position ,
however, the export market may look at whole plums not just the flesh of
the plums. USDA seems to want to call GM crops "organic" but they do not
appear to have thought the issue through to the export market.
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