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article imageFBI investigating destruction of GMO plants in sugar beet fields

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 21, 2013 in Food
The FBI is currently investigating a case of sabotage. An individual or group allegedly destroyed thousands of GMO sugar beet plants in a rural area of Oregon.
What is being called an act of sabotage left over 6,500 genetically modified sugar beet plants destroyed. Currently, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking for assistance from anyone who can offer information on the destroyed GMO fields.
The fields are privately owned. It is leased and managed by Syngenta, a company that says its goal is to figure out ways "to grow more crops from less resources".
According to Oregon Live, the destruction of the sugar beet crop took place over two nights in early June in separate incidents and on different properties.
"It doesn't look like a vehicle was used. It looks like people entered the field and destroyed the plants by hand," said Paul Minehart, head of corporate communications in North America for the Switzerland-based Syngenta.
A reward up to $10,000 for information leading to identifying the individual(s) responsible for the damage is being offered by a group called Oregonians for Food and Shelter.
"To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state," said Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba. "Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture."
Estimates of monetary loss has not been shared since the investigation is ongoing, but it is being described as a "significant" financial loss. Additionally, information on how the crops were destroyed is not being publicized because authorities fear copycats.
The FBI has called this act "economic sabotage".
Currently, the United States has no labeling laws for consumers to see what food products they are buying contain GMO ingredients. Oregon is one of many states that has pending legislation on GMOs.
More about Sugar beets, GMO sugar beets, Gmos, Gmo, Genetically modified organisms
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