Bt10 Detection Test to be Ready in Days

Syngenta is working with GeneScan to develop a diagnostic test to assure foreign exporters of safety of U.S. corn. Jacqui Fatka

Published on: Apr 15, 2005

To assure U.S. corn export markets of the safety of U.S. corn, Syngenta is working with biotech-test maker GeneScan to develop a diagnostic test to be available within days to identify the presence of Bt10 corn in U.S. corn shipments, says a Syngenta spokesperson.

The EU Member States approved a Commission proposal to adopt an emergency measure requiring imports of corn gluten feed and brewers grain from the United States of America to be certified as free of the unauthorized GMO Bt10, as these are the imported products considered most likely to be contaminated.

EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou says the "targeted" emergency measure "is necessary to uphold EU law, maintain consumer confidence and ensure that the unauthorized GMO Bt10 cannot enter the EU." Kyprianou says imports of maize products which are certified as free of Bt10 will be able to continue. "But at the same time we cannot and will not allow a GMO which has not gone through our rigorous authorization procedures to enter the EU market," he adds.

Syngenta supports the EU in the targeted certification program for two animal feed corn products for importation from the United States. Syngenta spokesperson Anne Burt says the certification for EU importation is expected to be operational within a few days at U.S. ports of departure.

The EU Commission has stated that this decision will be revised no later than in six months. By this time existing stocks of corn gluten and brewers grain for animal feed produced from the 2004 crop harvest would be expected to have been used up. No corn containing the Bt10 event will be in the 2005 or future harvests, explains a statement from Syngenta.

Market Analyst Arlan Suderman says the loss of EU's business has already been factored into prices with all the talk this week about the situation. "Having said that, if our Southeast Asian markets follow suit, that's probably not yet factored into prices. At least not fully," Suderman says.

Japan and South Korea have inquired Syngenta about the situation, Burt says, but have not imposed any additional governmental requirements such as the EU. Burt adds that Syngenta and the U.S. government are working closely with trading partners to address any additional concerns.