Editors’ pick: Modified corn seeds sow doubts

The Toronto Globe and Mail’s environment reporter, Martin Mittelstaedt, is reporting in todays’ issue that trouble may already be brewing for SmartStax corn

The G & M reports that, while the CFIA may have approved the new corn, Health Canada hasn’t assessed their safety and says it doesn’t have to because the companies have. 

Meanwhile, Mittelstaedt reports, the two companies – Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences — say the individual traits have been tested, so they’re not required to test the complete package, which incorporates a total of eight new genes.

Critics therefore claim that this assessment isn’t nearly rigourous enough because their could be unintended consequences that result from mixing the two together. 

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, for example, issued a press release calling for more study, and noted that a unilateral reduction in the amount of ‘refuge’ corn that didn’t including the bio-pesticide bt could reduce the efficacy of that valuable tool.

The group also noted that the existing paper trail within government suggests that the government bypassed the existing scientific assessment procedures which it also claimed have been previously judged “insufficient” by a scientific panel.

 

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