EU mulls U.S. trade ban in illegal GMO import row / Syngenta fined
1.EU mulls U.S. trade ban in illegal GMO import row
2.Syngenta fined [minimally] for introducing unauthorised GM
3.Syngenta's press release
EXCERPTS: "The EU executive Commission was cited as considering halting imports of genetically modified animal feed from the United States on Friday in a row with a major Swiss agrochemicals group over illegal shipments to Europe."
"...the European Commission wants Syngenta to help it identify Bt-10 so the 25-nation bloc can differentiate the two types of biotech maize and trace the tainted consignments but the Swiss firm has so far refused to give the information." (item 1)
1.EU mulls U.S. trade ban in illegal GMO import row
April 8, 2005
Reuters/ Associated Press [via Agnet]
BRUSSELS - The EU executive Commission was cited as considering halting imports of genetically modified animal feed from the United States on Friday in a row with a major Swiss agrochemicals group over illegal shipments to Europe.
The stories explain that Syngenta disclosed in March that some of its maize seeds were mistakenly contaminated between 2001 and 2004 with Bt-10, an insect-resistant strain that was not approved by the European Union for distribution.
The stories add that the European Commission wants Syngenta to help it identify Bt-10 so the 25-nation bloc can differentiate the two types of biotech maize and trace the tainted consignments but the Swiss firm has so far refused to give the information.
An EU official was quoted as saying, "The Commission is reflecting about possible action ... a temporary suspension of imports of corn gluten feed."
EU Health and Consumer Protection Commission spokesman Philip Tod was quoted as telling a news conference that, "We have again emphasised to Syngenta we must have it (detection method) as soon as possible ... before next Tuesday."
Syngenta spokesman Markus Payer was quoted as saying, "We are in constant contact with the European Commission."
EU vets from the 25-nation bloc will meet on Tuesday to discuss the situation and receive a report from the EU's food safety authority on the risks associated with Bt-10.
2.Syngenta fined for introducing unauthorised GM corn into US
April 8, 2005
Agence France Presse English [via Agnet]
BASEL, Switzerland - The Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta was cited as saying Friday that it had been fined 375,000 dollars (292,000 euros) by US authorities over the unauthorised release of genetically modified corn in the United States.
The fine followed the sale of "very small amounts" of Bt10-type corn, which is not approved in the United States, under the label of the authorised Bt11 line between 2001 and 2004, the compnay said in a statement.
Mike Mack, chief operating officer of Syngenta Seeds, was quoted as saying the company welcomed "the governments conclusion that Syngenta's misidentification of Bt10 corn, while a regrettable mistake, does not pose any risks to consumers, public health or the environment". [how very convenient for both parties!]
3.Syngenta Agrees to Settlement With USDA on Unintended Bt10 Corn
BASEL, Switzerland and WASHINGTON, April 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Syngenta announced today that it has agreed to a settlement with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the unintended release of a limited amount of Bt10 corn.
The coordinated investigation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and USDA concluded: "EPA and USDA have reviewed scientific information and have concluded that there are no human or animal health or environmental concerns with Bt10 corn." (see: http://www.usda.gov/) USDA issued a $375,000 fine and a requirement that Syngenta sponsor a compliance training conference.
"We welcome the settlement with the USDA and the government’s conclusion that Syngenta’s misidentification of Bt10 corn, while a regrettable mistake, does not pose any risks to consumers, public health or the environment," said Mike Mack, Chief Operating Officer of Syngenta Seeds. "While the amount of Bt10 corn that was mistakenly supplied represents an extremely small quantity, we fully accept and will abide by the USDA’s decision and requirements. We continue to cooperate with the EPA in the USA and with governments and authorities concerned around the world, including in Asia and the European Commission. Syngenta will make all efforts to provide the relevant authorities with any necessary additional information."
Bt10 corn is genetically modified corn that was mistakenly supplied in very small amounts as Bt11 corn between 2001 and 2004. The proteins expressed by Bt10 and Bt11 are identical, with the Bt gene in a different location in the corn’s genome; this has no impact on the safety of the corn.
Bt11 field corn is approved for food and feed use and for cultivation in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Japan, South Africa, and Uruguay. Additionally, it is approved for import for food and feed use in the European Union, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, the Philippines, China, Russia, and Korea. Bt11 was approved for cultivation and human consumption in the USA in 1996, for food and feed use in Japan in 1996 and for human consumption in the EU in 1998.
Bt10 also has an antibiotic resistance marker gene, which has been approved and widely used around the world for many years, including in the European Union. This marker is not active in the plant and therefore has no impact on the safety profile of the corn.
Syngenta identified the Bt10 event using advanced DNA-based testing. The Bt10 event was found in five Bt corn breeding lines in the USA, three of which were used between 2001 and 2004 primarily for pre-commercial development. The seeds produced could have planted an estimated 37,000 acres (15,000 hectares) in the USA accumulative over the four-year time period. This equates to one- one hundredth of one percent (0.01 percent) of the annual total US corn acreage (annual US corn plantings is 80 million acres or 32 million hectares). Only around 18 percent of US corn is exported to other countries. Therefore, although it is possible that some Bt10 corn could have entered US export channels, any such amount would have been in very small volumes.
A summary of the settlement with the USDA can be found on USDA’s website: http://www.usda.gov/.
Further information on antibiotic resistance marker genes is available at: http://www.syngenta.com/en/news/arm-genes-quotes-050407.aspx.
Syngenta is a world-leading agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. The company is a leader in crop protection, and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2004 were approximately $7.3 billion. Syngenta employs some 19,000 people in over 90 countries. Syngenta is listed on the Swiss stock exchange (SYNN) and in New York . Further information is available at http://www.syngenta.com/.
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