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Resolution To Reverse U.S. Patent Regime For Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops

WHEREAS a very large, and increasing, percentage of crops grown in the United States are from genetically engineered (GE) seed stocks1with the result that a few companies now dominate the global commercial seed market2 and an increasing proportion of planted crops are genetically similar or identical, and

WHEREAS the increasing consumption of GE crops and the loss of genetic diversity in food crops has already led, or is likely to lead, to the following harmful results: increased use of pesticides and herbicides, loss of beneficial insects, genetic contamination of neighboring crops, increased costs to farmers and consumers3, illness or health defects4, vulnerability of a greater proportion of a planted crop to disease or other threats, impairment of the ability of humankind to feed itself5, and

WHEREAS, the major reason that these vulnerable and costly GE monoculture crops have become dominant in the U.S. in recent years (while many developed nations, including the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and two dozen other countries have banned them) is that a strong U.S. patent law regime protects the interests of developers of seed crops containing novel genetic characteristics, and encourages such development, without regard to whether the novel genes and modified organisms are beneficial or harmful to human health and the environment,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party opposes the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, and urges its state and national officeholders to take any and all action necessary to amend or repeal current laws or precedents that allow the patenting of GMOs used in agriculture, said action to include but not be limited to a) legislative measures to repeal laws, and reverse judicial holdings, that now permit patents on plants that reproduce by seed, b) anti-trust action against the monopolistic activities of seed producers and agrochemical companies, and c) public education campaigns, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party forward this resolution to the Governor of California, the state Attorney General, all Democrats in the state legislature, and the California Democratic delegation to the U.S. Congress.



1 Wayne Peng, “GM Crop Cultivation Surges, But Novel Traits Languish,” Nature Biotechnology 29 (2011): 302.

2 Three agrichemical firms—Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta—control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market, according to Kristina Hubbard’s 2009 publication, Out of Hand: Farmers Face the Consequences of a Consolidated Seed Industry, p. 41.

3 Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers, A Report by the Center for Food Safety & Save Our Seeds, 2013, Executive Summary, pp. 8-9.

4 See, for example: Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases,” Entropy 2013, 15(4), 1416-1463.

5 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 2010.


Submitted by:  Mary Ames, Kathy Katz