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Pacific Northwest
Hawai'i CFS

GE Contamination Once Again Exposes Regulatory Failure, Danger to Farmers

November 19, 2013
Center for Food Safety

Corn Shipment is Second Export Rejected for Contamination in Two Months

China has rejected a shipment of U.S. corn because it was contaminated with a variety of genetically engineered (GE) corn not approved in China, according to Reuters. The shipment contained Syngenta AG's AgrisureViptera corn, also known as MIR 162.  This is the second transgenic contamination episode involving U.S. commodity exports in a matter of months, following the rejection of an alfalfa shipment this past September. 

“This latest transgenic contamination incident demonstrates yet again that the regulation of genetically engineered crops in our country is dysfunctional.  The continuing string of contamination episodes undermines confidence in the U.S. food supply and jeopardizes both our agricultural economy and farmer livelihoods; it’s unacceptable,” said Bill Freese, science policy analyst for Center for Food Safety.

“CFS and others have long urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep unwanted GE crops from contaminating the grain and food supply, but it’s failed to do anything.  If we continue to ignore the wishes of our key export partners, they’ll turn to competitors like Brazil that are better able to meet their food and feed needs.  Meanwhile, farmers who have their crops rejected in export markets due to transgenic contamination entirely beyond their control suffer losses but have essentially no recourse,” added Freese.

Just two months ago, an alfalfa farmer had his alfalfa shipment rejected overseas due to transgenic contamination.  Unbeknownst to him, the farmer’s planting stock had been contaminated with Monsanto’s GE alfalfa, at that time unapproved.  CFS filed a legal petition demanding action from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), calling on the agency to open an investigation and take regulatory action. USDA has yet to respond.

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