In the midst of lawsuits over genetically modified organisms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking, "Can't we all just get along?"
面对围绕基因改良物种所引发的诉讼,美国农业部提出,“我们能否和睦共处?”

GMO opponents are suing USDA for its recent approval of crops they say are likely to cause contamination in organic fields. USDA wants to bring the opposing parties together to find ways for GMOs, conventional agriculture, and organic farming to co-exist.
反对基因改良物种的人起诉农业部,认为农业部最近批准的一些作物有可能对有机农田造成污染。但是,美国农业部却希望把持不同意见各方召集在一起,寻找基因改良、传统农业以及有机种植共存的办法。

For crops such as maize, GMO and organics are already co-exisiting, if imperfectly. The United States raises more maize than any other country in the world, and almost all of it is genetically modified. There has been almost no evidence of health problems or environmental harm from GMO maize. But that does not mean everyone is okay with it.
美国种植的玉米比世界上任何国家都多,差不多所有玉米都经过基因改良。虽然几乎没有证据表明,转基因玉米造成了健康问题或环境损害,但是,这并不意味着每个人都认可这个作法。

Opposition

Lynn Clarkson runs Clarkson Grain and Clarkson Soy Products, two companies serving food and animal feed makers. At a recent USDA panel discussion, he described a conversation he had with a tortilla maker.
林·克拉克森经营着“克拉克森谷物”和“克拉克森大豆制品”两家公司,为食品和动物饲料生产商服务。在农业部最近召开的一个专题讨论会上,克拉克森介绍了他和一位玉米饼生产商之间的一次谈话。

"I'm in the food world," the tortilla maker told Clarkson. "I can get sued for all kinds of things and I have a conscience. I don't know if this is safe or not, and I don't want to find out."
这个人告诉他,他决不想使用转基因玉米。克拉克森让他解释其中的原因,“他说,我是从事饮食业的,我会因各种各样的事遭到起诉。我是一个有良心的人。我不知道这是不是安全,我也不想搞清楚。”

That was fine with Clarkson. His companies specialize in organic and non-GMO grains. Opposition to GMOs is one of the factors that have made organic products a $25-billion-a-year market in the United States.
这对克拉克森不存在任何问题,因为他的公司专门生产有机和非转基因谷物。人们对转基因谷物的排斥,是促使有机产品发展成美国每年盈利250亿美元的市场的因素之一。

Challenge of co-existence

That highlights a major challenge in American agriculture. How can these two profitable but mutually exclusive types of agriculture co-exist, when there are so many ways contamination can happen? Pollen can travel from a GMO field and contaminate a non-GMO crop. Grains can mix in storage, shipping, or processing.
这凸显了美国农业面临的一个主要挑战:在污染可以通过众多渠道发生的情况下,这两个既赚钱又互相排斥的农业形式如何共存呢?花粉可以从基因改良农田传播出去,污染非转基因农作物。谷物在储存、运输或加工过程中也会混在一起。

For the most part, the U.S. government has not gotten involved.
美国政府基本上没有介入到这个问题当中。

"So far, we have operated under a market-driven system," says University of Missouri economist Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes. "And by and large, generally it has worked."
密苏里大学经济学家尼古拉斯·卡莱赞多恩纳克斯说,“到目前为止,我们一直是在市场驱动的体制下运作。总体上来说,它是成功的。”

Premium price for organic

It has worked, he says, because customers are willing to pay a premium for organic and non-GMO products to businessmen like Lynn Clarkson who can provide them.
卡莱赞多恩纳克斯指出,这个体系之所以行得通,是因为消费者愿意出高价购买林·克拉克森这样的商家生产的有机和非转基因产品。

"So if you wish [to have] non-GMO, it's perfectly fine with me," he says. "If you wish organic, or if you wish [to have] a crop raised under a blue moon, and are willing to pay for it, that's acceptable, too."
他说:“如果你想得到非转基因产品,这对我来说毫无问题。如果你想要有机产品,而且愿意出钱,完全可以。”

Clarkson's customers are willing to pay him extra for the steps he has to take to keep GMOs out of his products. That includes making sure that everyone all along the supply chain uses separate or thoroughly cleaned equipment to grow, harvest, transport, store and process his crops.
克拉克森的消费者愿意多出钱,让他采取措施,保证他的产品不搀杂转基因成分。这包括确保供应链的每个环节--种植、收割、运输、储存和加工--都使用单独的或彻底清洗过的设备。

Contamination inevitable

But the system is not perfect. Some contamination still happens. And Clarkson says many customers accept that.
克拉克森说,这个体系不完美,有时还是会有污染发生。但很多消费者能够接受这一点,因为零污染几乎是不可能的。

"If you deal with the tolerance standards out there today, zero is simply not an option," he says.

Even the normally restrictive European Union is considering lifting its zero-tolerance standard for GMO contamination in imported animal feed. Clarkson says many producers aim for no more than one-tenth of one percent contamination.
就连通常采取限制措施的欧盟也在考虑取消对进口动物饲料中转基因成分的零污染要求。克拉克森说,很多生产厂家的目标是污染度不超过千分之一。

"Organic means no GMO"

But attorney George Kimbrell with the Center for Food Safety says that is not good enough for many consumers.
“食品安全中心”的乔治·金布莱尔律师说,这对很多消费者来说还不够好。

"If you talk to organic consumers, for example, for them, organic means no GMO," he says. "It doesn't mean a little bit of GMO in it."
“例如,如果你和有机产品消费者谈话,对他们来说,有机意味着没有转基因成分,而不是只有一点点。”

He says the companies that produced and patented GMO crops should be the ones responsible for keeping them out of organic products, not the other way around. Kimbrell says it's hardly a novel legal concept.
金布莱尔律师说,生产转基因作物和持有转基因作物专利的公司有责任把他们的产品和有机产品分开,而不是让有机作物种植者保证自己的作物不被污染。他指出,这不是什么新的法律观念。

"If your bull breaks out of your barn and causes a ruckus [damage] in my field, you are liable for that," he says. "That liability should extend to the owners of these genetically engineered crop patents."
他说:“如果你的公牛冲出牲口棚,给我的农田造成损害,你就要为此承担责任。这个责任应该扩大到转基因农作物专利的拥有者身上。”

Contamination likely?

Opponents like Kimbrell say some genetically engineered crops are so likely to cause contamination that they should not be introduced anywhere.
金布莱尔律师和其他反对者表示,有些转基因农作物非常有可能造成污染,因此不应该在任何地方加以推广。

But the USDA believes it is possible for these crops to co-exist with non-GMOs. The department recently approved one of them -- alfalfa, and is nearing approval of another, sugar beets.
但是,美国农业部认为,这些农作物和非转基因作物是有可能共存的。农业部最近批准了转基因苜蓿,而且很快还会批准转基因甜菜。

The Center for Food Safety has sued USDA to try to keep these crops off the market. Those lawsuits are a big part of why USDA has been stepping up its efforts to promote co-existence.
食品安全中心为了不让这些农作物进入市场而起诉美国农业部。这也是为什么农业部加紧努力、推动共处的主要原因。

But the lawsuits continue. And comfortable co-existence between supporters and opponents of GMOs is a long way off.
但是,诉讼仍在继续。转基因作物的支持者和反对者若要和睦共处,仍有很长的路要走。