Federal Agencies Find No Risk from Seed Contamination

Proteins are identical to approved product.

Published on: Feb 25, 2008

In a statement issued Friday, three federal agencies said there was no risk from low-level contamination of some seed sold in 2006 and 2007 that contained "extremely low levels of an unregistered genetically engineered pesticide product known as a plant-incorporated protectant."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration are coordinating efforts following notification by Dow AgroSciences that the company made the detection in three of its commercial GE hybrid corn seed lines, according to a joint statement issued this afternoon.

The unregistered product produces proteins that are identical to a registered product. All three agencies "have concluded that there are no public health, food or feed safety concerns," according to the statement. Additionally, USDA and EPA have determined that the unregistered GE corn PIP poses no plant pest or environmental concerns.

The unregistered GE corn PIP, known as Event 32, was found in some Herculex RW and Herculex XTRA Rootworm Protection products. Seed containing low levels of the unregistered Event 32 was inadvertently sold to farmers by Dow's affiliate Mycogen Seeds and planted in 2006 and 2007. EPA and USDA previously approved Herculex Rootworm Protection products containing a closely related PIP, Event 22. These products are also approved for use in several foreign countries.

Through careful analysis, EPA determined that the introduced proteins produced by Event 32 are identical to those approved for Event 22, and therefore they are covered by an existing tolerance exemption (EPA food safety clearance). FDA has concluded there are no food or feed safety concerns because EPA has determined that the introduced proteins in Event 32 are safe and because corn containing Event 32 is present in food or feed, if at all, only at low levels. In addition, APHIS' scientific analysis concluded that Event 32 poses no plant pest or environmental concerns.

Source: Feedstuffs