Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Genetically Engineered Chile? January 19, 2010

Filed under: Eating local,Fight Back Fridays,Food Activism,Politics — realfoodmama @ 6:39 pm
Tags: , , ,

GE or not GE?My local Co-op publishes a monthly news letter that is chock full of information on local food issues. Everything from information on state legislation to updates on the successes of local products.

This month, one of the more disturbing themes was about genetically engineered crops and the lawsuits brought against individual farmers by GE giant Monsanto.The most upsetting part of this article, however, was the disclosure that the NM state legislature has been funding the development of a genetically engineered chile since 2006. New Mexico is a huge chile producer (anyone who has seen Hatch green chile in their supermarket is buying from a town named Hatch in the southern part of the state – at least in theory), and apparently this research is being done on behalf on the NM Chile Association, web site here. Why is unclear and merits more research.

The really upsetting part of this is noted in the Co-op newsletter, that being that chiles are used so extensively in the state of NM as both food and decor that the potential for contamination is mind blowing. Chile seeds everywhere on ristras and plates all over the state…

Of course, the NM GE chile no doubt does not contain the roundup readiness of Monsanto’s famous grains, and an argument could be made that the act of creating hybrids is crucial to the evolution of agriculture – domestication of wild wheat, etc. However it still makes me nervous, and rightfully so.

In either case, it has certainly inclined me to do more research on the topic. I dislike the idea of a group such as Native Seeds SEARCH going to all the trouble of saving heirloom and historical varieties of chile just to have the state of NM undermine their own agricultural heritage by actively funding a GE crop.

This post has been my contribution to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday‘s blog carnival.

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5 Responses to “Genetically Engineered Chile?”

  1. localnourishment Says:

    Wow, thanks for this post. I had NO idea chiles were being genetically modified! The list just keeps growing.

  2. C2 Says:

    If you haven’t already I would advise reading Vandana Shiva’s book Stolen Harvest to learn more about the GMO debacle and Monsanto’s role in it…

  3. lorimark Says:

    Wow. So you’re saying that developing a GMO pepper, but that the Hatch green chiles are still okay? I have a huge bag of them in the freezer from last summer, and it would be a shame to waste them. Thanks for the post.

  4. realfoodmama Says:

    As far as I’ve been able to tell, the GE chile is not currently in production, so anything you have should be okay.

    – RFM

  5. […] was fortunate enough to be able to ask a question of the panel about the GE chile mentioned in this post. Unfortunately I failed to get an answer as to whether or not the chile was in production, but I […]


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