Oct. 26, 2015
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has decided to deregulate the Monsanto Co.’s corn genetically engineered (GE) for protection against corn rootworm and resistance to the herbicide, glyphosate. This notice also announces USDA’s written determination and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
APHIS is taking this action based on a final plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) that finds this GE corn is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agriculture and other plants in the U.S. APHIS also completed an environmental assessment (EA) to comply with NEPA that finds deregulation is not likely to have a significant impact on the human environment.
Under APHIS’ regulations, in accordance with the Plant Protection Act (PPA), APHIS is specifically required to evaluate if this corn variety is a plant pest risk to agricultural crops or other plants or plant products. The Act defines a plant pest as organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, or insects that can cause harm to agricultural crops or other plants or plant products. If APHIS finds through its rigorous scientific review that a new GE plant is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk, then under its regulations, it deregulates the GE plant.
In related news, APHIS has preliminarily determined that it will extend deregulation to a line of genetically engineered (GE) corn developed by Syngenta Seeds, Inc., that is resistant to the herbicides glyphosate and glufosinate. APHIS previously reviewed and deregulated this GE trait in other GE corn plants. USDA has prepared a draft environmental assessment, preliminary finding of no significant impact (FONSI) and a preliminary determination of nonregulated status that will be available for a 30-day public review and comment period upon publication of the Federal Register notice in the coming days.