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  • US contemplates certifying GM-free crops

The United States, the world's largest producer of genetically modified food, has announced that it may create a voluntary system for classifying crops as free of genetic modification.

The move — which comes in response to demand from some consumer groups for 'GM-free' food — follows the refusal of some African nations to accept donations of US maize. African leaders argued that such food aid contains GM seeds that, if planted, could contaminate native crops (see Famine-stricken countries reject GM maize).

The planned initiative would be a voluntary, federal programme to ensure that conventional grains, oilseeds and rice produced in the United States are not inadvertently exposed to GM crops.

Companies would be asked to specify how they keep their products separate from GM crops at all stages of food production — from harvesting to storage to processing. Additionally, federal inspectors would assess a company's system and verify that minimum standards for crop production, handling and processing are met.

In a Federal Register notice this week, the US Department of Agriculture said it would formally propose the new system within the next few months.

Link to the Federal Register notice

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