USDA may approve GM plum

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) may soon approve a genetically modified plum for commercial use. This would make plums the second GM fruit—along with papaya—to be approved for commercial use.

The GM plum, called c5, is genetically altered to resist the mutation of the Plum Pox Virus among stone fruit trees. The virus is considered to be the most serious virus disease of stone fruit, with the potential to devastate stone fruit production.

However, the Center for Food Safety (CFS), which opposes the GM plum’s approval, says the virus is not even found in the US today according to the USDA.

CFS says approval of the GM plum would open the door to GM varieties of many other related stone fruits, such as peaches, apricots, cherries, and almonds, that are susceptible to the same virus.

The USDA admits that the GM plum will contaminate both organic and conventional non-GMO plum orchards, if approved. Since all commercial plum trees are cultivars (a plant variety created intentionally and maintained through cultivation) that are cross compatible within the same species, contamination will infiltrate the plum orchards of organic and conventional growers.

CFS says the proposed buffer zones between GM plums and other plums will not prevent genetic contamination from being spread by pollinating insects.

The USDA took public comment on approval of the GM plum until July 17 and will then decide on its approval.
(Source: RAW STORY)
The Organic & Non-GMO Report (August 2006).