Monday, February 7, 2011

EPA cracking down

EPA cracking down on biotech corn growers
By Philip Brasher
Des Moines Register
February 7, 2011

Federal regulators are stepping up enforcement of planting restrictions on corn that’s genetically engineered to resist insect pests. The rules are meant to ensure that pests don’t develop resistance to the toxin in the corn plants, but the Environmental Protection Agency has long struggled to get compliance to acceptable levels.

Independent inspectors will check on farms where compliance is the lowest and where growers didn’t buy enough of the corn varieties they need to comply with the restrictions. Farmers that are found out of compliance will be more likely to lose their right to buy the insect-resistant seed, according to the National Corn Growers Association, which outlined the EPA’s plans. Tags on seed bags also will be modified to better explain the rules.

The restrictions limit how much of the biotech corn, known as Bt, that farmers can plant.

Federal regulators are stepping up enforcement of planting restrictions on corn that’s genetically engineered to resist insect pests. The rules are meant to ensure that pests don’t develop resistance to the toxin in the corn plants but the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to get compliance to acceptable levels.

The EPA is going to have inspectors check on farms where compliance is the lowest and where growers didn’t buy enough of the corn varieties they need to comply with the restrictions. Farmers that are found out of compliance will be more likely to lose their right to buy the insect-resistant seed, according to the National Corn Growers Association. Tags on seed bags also will be modified to better explain the rules.

The restrictions limit how much of the biotech corn, known as Bt, that farmers can plant in order to maintain the effectiveness of the toxin.

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