EU lab OKs testing method for rogue corn (Bt10)
By Raf Casert, Associated Press
BRUSSELS - The European Union announced Monday it has approved a testing method for the unauthorized Bt10 genetically modified corn, a move which should end an EU ban on suspect corn gluten imports from the United States.
Monday's approval by the EU's Joint Research Center means the biotech grain can now be detected reliably by labs in U.S. ports, allowing the flow of millions of dollars of U.S. corn gluten and brewer's grain to Europe to resume, said EU spokesman Philip Tod.
"All imports of brewer's grain and corn gluten imports must have a certificate that they do not contain Bt10," he said.
The ban was a response to the Swiss company Syngenta AG having accidentally sold Bt10 to U.S. farmers. The farmers grew the seeds and exported small parcels of the crop to Europe and other countries between 2001 and 2004.
The United States had called the EU measure an overreaction and said it was neither a health nor an environmental hazard. European nations, however, have been particularly wary of allowing the marketing of genetically modified food and animal feed following an array of food scandals over the past decade.
The imports will be tested when leaving the United States but could be checked again by EU member nations when they enter their territory.
U.S. shipments of corn gluten feed to the EU totaled 347 million euros ($450 million) last year.
Syngenta said earlier this month it has reached a settlement with the U.S. government over the inadvertent sale to farmers of Bt10.
However, the EU has been annoyed that U.S. authorities allowed the export of Bt10 to Europe after it was mixed up with an authorized biotech Syngenta maize labeled Bt11.
About 1,000 tons of animal feed containing the [Bt10] corn are thought to have entered the EU since 2001.