Greenpeace UK has an excellent introduction to the hazards of genetically modified (GM) foods [image from Greenpeace.org].
A small town in Maine has joined the county of Mendocino, California in banning GM crops, making it one of the only two constituencies in the US which do so.
Voters at Montville’s annual town meeting on Saturday passed a binding ordinance banning the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in their community. This makes Montville the first town outside of California to pass a binding measure restricting genetically modified crops. The ordinance was developed after residents directed the town to include such a ban in the town’s comprehensive plan at town meeting in Spring of 2006. The ordinance passed overwhelmingly in a voice vote and requires town residents growing genetically modified crops to phase them out within two years. For the past two years residents have been working with farmers growing genetically engineered crops on phasing in new non genetically modified varieties.
GM foods are already under attack the world over. European rules are a mixed bag, with the Swiss having banned it for five years in 2005, the French having a provisional ban while waiting for the EU to make up its mind. Other countries from Rumania to Tasmania, and the largest state in Australia, have implemented bans as well.
In India, "Environmentalists and food security activists in India have renewed calls for a moratorium on genetically modified (GM) foods and crops after rats reportedly secretly tested with GM corn diets by the U.S. agribusiness and biotech giant Monsanto developed blood and organ abnormalities." (from Common Dreams). The Indian Supreme Court banned any new field trials of genetically modified crops in the country.
In the US, we not only have no controls on GM food, there are plenty of labeling laws that prevent full disclosure to the consumer. As a result, even organic corn is plentifully contaminated with GM corn, and this situation is unlikely to be reversed.
But Organic Consumers opines that, "With nations across Africa banning GM imports, and with counties and states in the US and Canada now acting to ban GM crops it increasingly looks as if a global ban might now be achievable."