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Biotech industry adopts precaution

(Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- In what it says is an effort to prevent drugs or industrial chemicals produced in genetically engineered plants from contaminating the food supply, the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO) is adopting a moratorium on their planting in certain areas, according to a story in today's Washington Post.

The Association wants its member corporations to voluntarily refrain from growing easy cross-pollinating plants, particularly corn and canola, in major food producing regions.

Part of the worry is avoiding drugs popping up in the corn flakes. That could cost far more than the StarLink debacle, in which the genetically engineered corn that had approval only for animal feed found its way into taco shells and other corn products. A recall costing hundreds of millions of dollars ensued.

"It's significant that BIO is acknowledging the concerns we farmers have been raising for a long, long time about this type of genetically modified crop," says Dan McGuire, director of the Farmer Choice-Customer First program of the American Corn Growers Association.

However, he wonders whether there's more to the BIO policy.

"Are the pollen drift issues and accompanying liability concerns bigger than the biotechnology industry has ever wanted to admit in genetically modified crops in general, not just pharmaceutical varieties," McGuire says.

See the full Washington Post story at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61908-2002Oct21.html

Related items:

1. Report raises farmer liability concerns over pharm corn pollen drift; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=706

2. The hazards of pharm crops; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=779