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GMO backlash hits US

Pandering to those opposed to GMOs (genetically modified organisms), Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM; Decatur, IL), one of the largest soya producers in the US, warned its Midwest grain suppliers in September to start segregating GM crops from traditional crops. The move was prompted by food manufacturers' insistence on guaranteed GM-free crops, a request resulting from high demand for GM-free products from concerned customers in Europe and Asia. About half the soybeans grown in the US are GM, but they are routinely mixed with non-GM soya. Farmers could be dissuaded from growing GM crops altogether next season because segregation, apart from expensive practical requirements such as installation of testing equipment and separate storage bins, would probably lead to a two-level pricing system, with GM crops selling at a discount of 18 cents a bushel. ADM has not stated what thresholds of "contamination" with GM crops would be acceptable in premium-priced "GM-free" crops.

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Dorey, E. GMO backlash hits US. Nat Biotechnol 17, 941 (1999).

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