Syngenta urged to reconsider biotech corn seed sales
USAgNet, April 5 2007
The nation's two leading trade associations representing the grain, feed and grain processing industries joined in urging Syngenta Seeds Inc. to reconsider and reverse its plan to commercialize its Agrisure RW biotechnology-enhanced corn seed for planting this year because it has not obtained regulatory approval for food and feed use in Japan and other U.S. export markets.
The National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association said that what they termed Syngenta's 'ill-conceived' plan risks endangering U.S. corn and corn product exports. Further, the NGFA and NAEGA said, Syngenta's action could set a dangerous precedent concerning the future introduction of biotechnology-enhanced traits before they are approved in countries, like Japan, that have a fully functioning, science-based regulatory-approval process for such products.
"We already are aware that Japanese buyers are developing contingency plans to purchase corn and corn products from non-U.S. origins if Syngenta releases this seed for planting and Japanese government approval is not forthcoming prior to harvest," said NGFA President Kendell W. Keith and NAEGA President and Chief Executive Officer Gary C. Martin.
"Given the painful lessons learned in the past, we urge Syngenta to join with us in protecting the marketability of U.S. corn and corn products by delaying the introduction of Agrisure RW corn seed until it receives full regulatory approval in Japan and other important U.S. corn export markets."
Syngenta announced its intent to begin selling its new Agrisure RW corn seed immediately after the March 16 decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to deregulate the product after finding no adverse plant health or environmental concerns.
The biotechnology-enhanced trait, which contains modified protein MIR604 to control corn rootworm insects, previously received authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.