Secrecy surrounding genetically engineered grapes field tests can have serious repercussions

UC Davis and Cornell University have the approval for testing genetically engineered grapes in California. In this case no application or environmental assessments were undertaken for the permits and there were just notifications given by the institutes. As far as the field tests are concerned there seems to be a veil of secrecy surrounding them therefore grape growers are not aware regarding the measures which need to be taken for protecting their vineyards from genetic contamination which could dent their image and even cause huge losses if the customers shun genetically engineered products. USDA was even criticized for not paying attention towards the field trials being undertaken and the U.S. Inspector General report said: USDA lacks basic information about the field test sites it approves and is responsible for monitoring, including where and how the crops are being grown, and what becomes of them at the end of the field test. It was only last month when a federal judge ruling stated that USDA cannot give approval for new GE field trials without environmental assessments but this wont be applicable to the grape field tests which have been already given permission. Such secrecy is expected to cause huge problems in the future for GE foods and if proper study and transparency is not ensured then genetically modified food will have a tough time ahead.

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