By JYOTI THOTTAM, Time Magazine, March 14, 2007
When you buy a gallon of organic milk, you expect to get tasty milk from happy cows who haven't been subjected to antibiotics, hormones or pesticides. But you might also unknowingly be getting genetically modified cattle feed.
Albert Straus, owner of the Straus Family Creamery in the small northern California town of Marshall, decided to test the feed that he gives his 1,600 cows last year and was alarmed to find that nearly 6% of the organic corn feed he received from suppliers was "contaminated" by genetically modified (GM) organisms. Organic food is, by definition, supposed to be free of genetically modified material, and organic crops are required to be isolated from other crops. But as GM crops become more prevalent, there is little that an organic farmer can do to prevent a speck of GM pollen or a stray GM seed from being blown by the wind onto his land or farm equipment and, eventually, into his products. In 2006, GM crops accounted for 61% of all the corn planted in the U.S. and 89% of all the soybeans. "I feared that there weren't enough safeguards," Straus says.