USDA sees no plant pest risk in Monsanto GE corn product

By Sarah Gonzalez

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WASHINGTON, July 20, 2015 - USDA says a preliminary assessment finds that a Monsanto corn product genetically engineered for increased ear biomass determined the product is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and is being considered for deregulation, or commercial approval.

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The findings are contained in a preliminary plant pest risk assessment and draft environmental assessment released today by the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The documents are available for public review and comments will be accepted for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Monsanto's petition for the product was published in January, and APHIS received initial public comments until March 23.

USDA said that it considered issues raised during that comment period, which included the “contamination of conventional crop production,” and “the potential for disruption of trade due to the presence of unwanted genetically engineered commodities in exports.”

In November 2011, APHIS announced it would begin improving the overall timeline for biotechnology approvals by standardizing and streamlining its process. Under the updated program, APHIS intends to provide a decision on regulatory status within 12-15 months.

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