China rejects U.S. GMO tainted corn shipment
Nov. 8, 2010
The incident occurs just days after China attended the 2nd ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The convention’s theme was “Strengthening Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine Cooperation, Preventing the Cross-Border Spread of Exotic Pests.” The conference established three study groups for food safety, animal inspection and quarantine, and plant inspection and quarantine.
A chinese official said, “A genetically modified element which is not approved by the Agriculture Ministry” was found in the shipment. The official identified the genetically modified corn as Monsanto’s MON89034.
Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn can produce its own insecticide which is derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a naturally occurring soil bacterium. BT is considered safe and is frequently used by organic farmers. The plant produces Bt proteins produced called Cry1A.105, and Cry2Ab2. This gives the corn natural resistance to corn borers, corn earworm, fall armyworm and other serious economic pests that would otherwise have to be sprayed with chemical insecticides.
The European Food Safety Authority, which did extensive safety studies on MON89034 said the variety “is as safe as its non genetically modified counterpart with respect to potential effects on human and animal health or the environment.” The panels final conclusion on the corn variety was it is “unlikely to have any adverse effect on human or animal health or on the environment.”
China has bought a lot of U.S. corn this year because shortages there drove their domestic prices higher than U.S. prices. The corn was not shipped directly from the U.S. to China but was resold overseas by a Japanese trading company.
The crop was stored in silos in Chiwan, destined for several Chinese feed mills. Government policy requires the shipment to be returned. Meanwhile, mill owners are complaining because they paid for the corn but will not be able to take possession of the crop.
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