December 4, 2008

Genetically engineered cotton is released

The U.S. government says it has determined there are no food or feed safety concerns from the release of some unauthorized genetically engineered cotton.

Officials said a small amount of the unauthorized variety was inadvertently harvested along with commercially available GE cotton by the Monsanto Co.

The safety determination was announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Monsanto said less than an acre of the unauthorized GE cotton variety was harvested along with 54 acres of a commercially available GE cotton variety. The company said the unauthorized variety produces a pesticide that is a plant-incorporated protectant nearly identical to a registered product already in a marketed corn variety.

The FDA, USDA and EPA are responsible for regulatory oversight of genetically engineered crops and their products.