Iowa Public Television


Biotech Companies Charged with Planting Violations

posted on August 16, 2002

Even as the use of genetically-altered seeds grows in popularity, so too does the controversy over their presence in the food chain and the environment. It is ironic that despite the fact many European companies led the research and development of G-M-O's, the EU remains resistant to importing grain and oilseed produced with genetically altered seed.

At home the FDA, USDA, and EPA are the alphabet of government agencies that regulate the new technology. But after years of monitoring development, field tests, as well as the seeding of millions of acres, it is noteworthy the watchdog Environmental Protection Agency this week was stirred to action.


For the first time since approval of genetically modified seeds, the Environmental Protection Agency has charged two biotech companies with failure to take proper precautions to avoid contaminating nearby fields.

The Department has accused Pioneer Hi-Bred International of planting biotech corn in an unapproved location. Meanwhile, Mycogen Seeds is accused of planting the wrong kind of unmodified corn in a buffer zone and failure to plant a windbreak to slow-up the spread of pollen. All the violations were discovered at company test plots in Hawaii.

Pioneer maintains the crop was planted in the right place. Mycogen insists human health, safety and the environment were never at risk and plans to investigate the matter further.

To this point, the EPA has given a clean bill of health to the biotech seed industry for research procedures from the lab to the field.

The EPA plans to make an official decision by August 30 as to whether or not a fine will be levied against either company.


Tags: agriculture biotechnology crops genetic engineering news