Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Unapproved GM corn found in US food chain

Filed under
Sci/Tech

A Swiss company accidentally sold unapproved genetically modified seed corn in the US for four years. The mistake resulted in about 133 million kilograms of the corn making its way into the food chain.

Officials for the company, Syngenta, and the US Environmental Protection Agency insist there is no danger to human health. But the EPA and the US Department of Agriculture are investigating to see if any laws or regulations were broken. The EPA confirmed the investigation was underway in a statement to the journal Nature.

Between 2001 and 2004, Syngenta accidentally sold an unapproved corn variety called Bt 10, mistaking it for the approved variety Bt 11. Both varieties produce a bacterial toxin that kills insects, using the same inserted gene and producing the same protein. The only difference is the location of the inserted gene, Syngenta says.

The company says it discovered the mistake for itself when it switched to a new quality control system that tests for DNA directly. Previously it had tested only for proteins, which meant the two varieties appeared identical.

In all, about 15,000 hectares in four US states were planted with the unapproved variety. This amounts to about 0.01% of the corn grown in the US over those four years. On average, about 70% of corn in the US is fed to animals, while the other 30% is consumed directly by people.

In 2000 a GM corn variety called Starlink was discovered in the human food supply, even though it was approved only for use in animal feed because of possible allergic reactions in humans. That discovery prompted a massive recall and new methods for segregating GM and non-GM corn. It also raised concerns among overseas buyers of US corn.

Critics say the Bt 10 release demonstrates that regulations and methods for controlling GM crops are still faulty.

"This really makes us wonder what else is in corn that has not been approved but that has been field tested. It seems that companies either won't or can't control it," says Jane Rissler, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC, US.

The Starlink contamination was originally discovered by the environmental group Friends of the Earth and Bill Freese, an FoE research analyst, says regulators should not assume the unapproved variety is harmless without further testing.

"The US government should immediately institute a testing programme, at Syngenta's expense, to remove Bt 10-contaminated grain, seed stocks and processed foods from the food chain," he adds.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

SUSE Leftovers

  • openSUSE Heroes meeting, day 2
    After a long, but exciting first day, we even managed to get some sleep before we started again and discussed the whole morning about our policies and other stuff that is now updated in the openSUSE wiki. After that, we went out for a nice lunch…
  • Installing Tumbleweed, November 2016
    The Tumbleweed system that I already have installed had desktops KDE, Gnome, XFCE and LXDE. But for recent intstalls (as with Leap 42.2), I have been going with KDE, Gnome, XFCE, LXQt, FVWM and MATE. So it seemed reasonable for the new Tumbleweed install to follow the same path. I also added Enlightenment for experimenting.

Android Leftovers

Linux Graphics

  • LibRetro's Vulkan PlayStation PSX Renderer Released
    A few days back I wrote about a Vulkan renderer for a PlayStation emulator being worked on and now the code to that Vulkan renderer is publicly available. For those wanting to relive some PlayStation One games this week or just looking for a new test case for Vulkan drivers, the Vulkan renderer for the LibRetro Beetle/Mednafen PSX emulator is now available, months after the LibRetro folks made a Vulkan renderer for the Nintendo 64 emulator.
  • Etnaviv DRM Updates Submitted For Linux 4.10
    The Etnaviv DRM-Next pull request is not nearly as exciting as MSM getting Adreno 500 series support, a lot of Intel changes, or the numerous AMDGPU changes, but it's not bad either for a community-driven, reverse-engineered DRM driver for the Vivante graphics cores.
  • Mesa 12.0.4 Being Prepped For Ubuntu 16.10/16.04
    Ubuntu is preparing Mesa 12.0.4 for Ubuntu Xenial and Yakkety users. It's not as great as Mesa 13, but at least there are some important fixes back-ported. Mesa 12.0.4 is exciting for dozens of bug fixes, including the work to offer better RadeonSI performance. But with Mesa 12.0.4 you don't have the RADV Vulkan driver, OpenGL 4.5, or the other exciting Mesa 13 work.

Games for GNU/Linux