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USDA Opens Public Comment on Deregulation of Genetically Engineered Corn Modified for Insect Resistance

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Contact:
Mike Pina         (301) 734-7253
Suzanne Bond  (301) 734-5175

USDA OPENS PUBLIC COMMENT ON DEREGULATION OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CORN MODIFIED FOR INSECT RESISTANCE

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2010--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking public comment on a petition to deregulate corn genetically engineered (GE) to resist certain caterpillar insect pests of corn.  APHIS has regulated this variety of corn through its notification and permitting process since 1999.

The petition for deregulation, submitted by Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc., is in accordance with APHIS’ regulations concerning the introduction of GE organisms and products and is available for the public’s review and comment.  As part of the decisionmaking process, APHIS also has prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) and plant pest risk assessment for review and comment.
 
Following the comment period, APHIS makes a determination of nonregulated status if it can conclude that the organism does not pose a plant pest risk.  If APHIS grants the Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. petition for deregulation, this GE 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.  APHIS is responsible for protecting U.S. agriculture and the environment from animal and plant pests.  APHIS regulates GE products in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
 
In addition to APHIS review, Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. submitted the appropriate documents to FDA and EPA to address requirements specific to those agencies.
 
APHIS has safely regulated GE organisms since 1986 and has overseen the deregulation of more than 70 products.

This action is published in the today’s Jan. 13 Federal Register.

APHIS is seeking comment on the petition and on the EA.        

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before March 15.  Send two copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0072, 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/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2009-0072.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and also can be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW, 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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