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European Commission Approves GMO Corn -- Finally
On May 19, 2004, the European Commission authorized the sale of BT-11 sweet corn in Europe. The corn, which is produced by Syngenta, has been registered for sale in the United States since 1998, the same year it was submitted for EC approval. BT-11 is also approved in Canada, Argentina, Japan, Uruguay and South Africa. Registration in the EU has been stalled because BT-11 is transgenic, and European NGOs have waged against genetically modified crops. BT-11 is the first, but hopefully not last, NGO defeat in these biotechnology wars.

BT-11 corn is modified to include a synthetic Bt gene, derived from a soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, and a marker gene derived from another soil bacterium Streptomyces virdochromogenes. The modified corn produces a Bt protein in its leaves, silks stalks and ears that kill corn borers and corn earworms without need for pesticides. There is no evidence that BT-11 corn harms anything but these two bugs, which can devour entire crops if left unchecked.

The European NGOs, including Greenpeace, are reportedly outraged over the EC decision on BY-11. That decision was inevitable if one is only interested in facts and science. The NGOs are not. When it comes to biotechnology, they are only interested in politics.

  • Click for Syngenta press release discussing EC approval of BT-11.

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