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

3 little things in Linux 4.10 that will make a big difference

Linux never sleeps. Linus Torvalds is already hard at work pulling together changes for the next version of the kernel (4.11). But with Linux 4.10 now out, three groups of changes are worth paying close attention to because they improve performance and enable feature sets that weren’t possible before on Linux. Here’s a rundown of those changes to 4.10 and what they likely will mean for you, your cloud providers, and your Linux applications. Read more

SODIMM-style module runs Linux on VIA’s 1GHz Cortex-A9 SoC

VIA unveiled an SODIMM-style COM based on its Cortex-A9 WM8850 SoC, with 512MB RAM and 8GB eMMC, plus Ethernet, CSI, graphics, USB, and serial ports. The 68.6 x 43mm “SOM-6X50” computer-on-module appears to be VIA’s second-ever ARM COM. Back in Sept. 2015, the company released a 70 x 70mm Qseven form factor QSM-8Q60 COM, based on a 1GHz NXP DualLite SoC. Read more

Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • LinuXatUSIL – Previas 2 for #LinuxPlaya
    Damian from GNOME Argentina explained us some code based on this tutorial and the widgets in Glade were presented.
  • RancherOS v0.8.0 released! [Ed: and a bugfix release, 0.8.1, out today]
    RancherOS v0.8.0 is now available! This release has taken a bit more time than prior versions, as we’ve been laying more groundwork to allow us to do much faster updates, and to release more often.
  • The Technicals For Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) Tell An Interesting Tale
  • Ubuntu 17.04 Beta 1 Released | New Features And Download
    Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus Beta 1 release is finally here. If you’re interested, you can go ahead and download the ISO images of the participating flavors, which are, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio. Powered by Linux kernel 4.10, these releases feature the latest stable versions of their respective desktop environments. This release will be followed by the Final Beta release on March 23 and final release on April 13.
  • Ubuntu 17.04 Beta 1 Now Available to Download
    The first beta releases in the Ubuntu 17.04 development cycle are ready for testing, with Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME and Ubuntu Budgie among the flavors taking part.