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EPA fines Pioneer in GMO corn case

(Thursday, April 24, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The EPA fined Pioneer Hi-Bred International $72,000 because its experimental genetically engineered corn contaminated nearby corn in Hawaii.

Biotech skeptics say this calls into question the government policy that such transgenic corn varieties can be segregated from food crops.

Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology issues at Center for Science in the Public Interest, told The Washington Post: "What this shows is that there really needs to be much more serious oversight of experimental trials. We're kidding ourselves if we think these genes are being contained by current standards...It was pure luck that they caught it, a complete fluke. The government doesn't want to look. We sort of have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy."

Courtney Chabot Dreyer, a spokeswoman for Pioneer, a subsidiary of DuPont Co., emphasized that the transgenes were found in 12 plants out of 300,000 that were tested. She told The Post: "To put that into perspective, that's four-thousandths of a percent."

Source: Reuters, The Washington Post