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USDA SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON DEREGULATION - OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CORN

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Rachel Iadicicco (301) 734-3255
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623

OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CORN

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking public comment on a petition to deregulate MIR604, a corn genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to corn rootworm insects.

The petition for deregulation, submitted by Syngenta Seeds, Inc., 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 is as safe as its traditionally bred counterparts.

APHIS makes a determination of nonregulated status only when it can conclude that the organism is as safe for the environment as its traditionally bred counterparts. If APHIS grants the petition for deregulation, the corn and its progeny would no longer be regulated articles. The product could then be freely moved and planted without the requirement of permits or other regulatory oversight by APHIS.

MIR604 is also subject to regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Syngenta has submitted documents to EPA and FDA to address these regulations.

APHIS oversees the development and introduction (importation, interstate movement and environmental release) of GE organisms. APHIS regulates GE products in cooperation with EPA and FDA. 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.

Notice of this action was published in the Jan. 10 Federal Register.

APHIS is seeking comments on the petition and invites comments on the EA. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0157, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the

Internet, go to the 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-2006-0157 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 may also 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. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

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