USDA regulators approve new Syngenta corn trait

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Syngenta on Wednesday cleared one U.S. regulatory hurdle toward domestic marketing of corn seeds containing a trait that is genetically engineered to resist weed killers including glyphosate.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said it will no longer regulate the Syngenta Seeds corn trait known as MZHG0JG.

USDA has previously reviewed and deregulated the same trait in other genetically modified corn plants, spokesman Andre Bell said. Syngenta “may freely move and plant this crop without APHIS permits or additional regulatory oversight from us,” he said.

Syngenta must still complete a consultation process about the corn trait with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a company spokesman said.

In Canada, Syngenta is also seeking environmental safety approval of an MZHG0JG corn line, as well as another corn line, MZIR098, for commercial planting purposes and livestock feed and food use.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada are accepting public comment on Syngenta’s submissions on both corn lines until Jan. 23.

The trait is engineered to resist glyphosate and glufosinate, a herbicide combination Syngenta says will expand options for farmers battling the growing problem of weed resistance. Critics say such a combination will fuel the problem.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and other herbicides; glufosinate is the active in Bayer’s Liberty, among others.

Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Includes files from Network staff.

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