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organic farmocidal maniacs
A law against organic farmocide with stiff criminal penalties is needed.
Notice how tiny the fines are in the article below.
April 29, 2003 the scientist
GM crop controls questioned
Company gets second fine, and a report examines adequacy of regulation
and oversight. | By Ted Agres
Another round in the debate over genetically modified (GM) foods began
last week after reports that the US Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) had fined the nation's largest seed company $72,000 in a second
crop contamination case. Meanwhile, a new report warns of "serious
questions" about the government's ability to monitor regulatory
compliance of GM crops after they have been approved for planting.
The EPA announced last week that Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
(Des Moines, Iowa), had paid a $72,000 fine in March. The penalty was
imposed after the company had failed to promptly report test data
showing that a gene engineered to protect against corn rootworm had
contaminated other experimental plants in an adjacent field at the
company's isolated research facility in Kauai, Hawaii.
The penalty follows a separate $9,900 EPA fine imposed in December 2002
after Pioneer allegedly failed to comply with two conditions of an
experimental use permit for GM corn seed. The EPA reports that Pioneer
now has satisfied all testing requirements, and the agency is confident
that corn intended for human consumption was not affected.
"We're really pleased with the findings," said Courtney Chabot Dreyer,
spokeswoman for Pioneer. "This is the most comprehensive testing process
of its kind. And the data prove the containment practices employed by
Pioneer are effective."
In December 2002, Pioneer was cited for growing rootworm-resistant corn
outside a 1,260-foot buffer zone. The company paid the fine, destroyed
the corn in the buffer strip, and agreed to conduct additional genetic
tests. When those tests resulted in a number of positive findings, the
company retested the plants using more sensitive DNA tests that
uncovered 12 positive results, but all for a variant of the corn
"We conducted tests on more than 300,000 plants or seeds that were
within 1,260 feet, and none of them tested positive for the trait,"
Dreyer said. "However, 12 of them, or four-thousandths of a percent,
tested positive for a different version of a corn rootworm trait."
Pioneer believes the plants inherited the gene from a different crop
grown in an isolated 1-acre plot nearby. That smaller plot is regulated
by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), whereas plots larger than 10
acres are subject to EPA oversight.
According to a December 2002 agreement with the EPA, Pioneer was to
notify the agency of any positive findings within 1 day and provide crop
location maps within 5 days, said Dean Higuchi, EPA spokesman in
Honolulu. "They missed the notification requirements stipulated in the
December 2002 agreement," he told The Scientist.
Jim Rogers, spokesman for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) in Washington, D.C., confirmed that the agency is also
investigating the incident under the Plant Protection Act but declined
to elaborate. Dreyer said Pioneer is cooperating with the APHIS
investigation. The Hawaii incident illustrates that the regulatory
structure is effective, she added.
But a new report issued by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology
says the current regulatory oversight system for GM crops is focused on
pre-market approval and warns of "potential vulnerabilities in the
system due to the relatively low priority and limited resources for
Noting recent mishaps with ProdiGene and StarLink, the report identifies
gaps in an inconsistent regulatory framework involving APHIS, EPA, and
the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). "The time is ripe to address
these issues — before a crisis occurs," author Michael Taylor said.
Links for this article
M.R. Taylor, J.S. Tick, "Post-market oversight of biotech foods: is the
system prepared?" Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, Washington,
D.C., April 2003.
C.Q. Choi, "Black eye for ag-biotech," The Scientist, November 20, 2002.
M.R. Taylor, J.S. Tick, "The StarLink case: issues for the future," Pew
Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, Washington, D.C., October 2001.