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USDA SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON DEREGULATION - OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CORN

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Rachel Iadicicco (301) 734-3255
Angela Harless (202) 720-4623

OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CORN

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) seeks public comment on a petition to deregulate corn line MON 89034, which is genetically engineered (GE) for insect resistance. Notice of this action was published in the Dec. 13 Federal Register.

The petition for deregulation, submitted by the Monsanto Company is in accordance with APHIS' regulations concerning the introduction of GE organisms and products. APHIS has prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) to determine whether deregulating the corn could have a significant impact on the environment. After a thorough review of the scientific evidence, APHIS' current preferred action is to deregulate the corn based on the fact that it does not present a plant-pest risk.

If APHIS grants the petition for deregulation, the corn and its progeny no longer would be regulated articles. The product then could be freely moved and planted without the requirement of permits or other regulatory oversight by APHIS.

Corn line MON 89034 is engineered for resistance to European corn borer and other related pests, which can cause yield reductions through damage to corn plants. MON 89034 also is subject to regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Monsanto has submitted documents to FDA in accordance with its regulations. Under EPA regulations, MON 89034 falls under a temporary exemption based on comprehensive assessments of the genetic material involved.

APHIS oversees the development and introduction (importation, interstate movement and environmental release) of GE organisms. APHIS regulates GE products in cooperation with FDA and EPA. Products are regulated according to their intended use, with some products regulated under more than one agency. APHIS has been safely regulating GE organisms since 1986 and has overseen the deregulation of more than 70 GE crop lines.

APHIS is seeking comments on the petition and invites comments on the environmental assessment. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 11, 2008. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0030, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Comments can be submitted via the Internet

on Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu; then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2007-0030 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and also can be viewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Please call (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the comment reading room.

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