News – for Sep. 12, 2011

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Major U.S. grain companies have tightened curbs on genetically modified grains not yet approved by foreign markets, with some singling out one popular corn variety made by Syngenta, fearing any trace of the biotech grain in shipments could shut off export markets.

The action was taken just weeks before the U.S. corn harvest, when this variety of corn could enter market channels.

U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill said Sept. 1 it will not accept Syngenta s genetically modified Agrisure Viptera corn at its North American wet milling plants until the corn variety receives regulatory approval from the European Union.

Archer Daniels Midland did not single out any specific corn varieties, but said it would only accept grain approved for commercial use in the European Union, which would exclude Viptera, unless given prior written notice to ensure its supply chain integrity.

Another major grain handler, Bunge North America, has also barred Agrisure Viptera from its facilities, awaiting additional export market approval, particularly from China a top U.S. grains and oilseed customer.

Cargill strongly values its right to accept or restrict products of agricultural biotechnology, dependent on the approval status in export markets and needs of our customers, Cargill spokeswoman Nicole Reichert said.

Consistent with our long-standing wet milling position, Cargill cannot accept Viptera at these facilities until it has received regulatory approvals in the EU, she said.

Cargill and ADM said their grain elevators will accept Viptera but only with written notification ahead of delivery.

U.S. processors and exporters became hypersensitive to issues related to GMO corn after a variety unapproved for food use known as Starlink was discovered in a U.S. shipment to Japan in 2000. Sales to the biggest U.S. customers at the time Japan and South Korea dried up overnight.

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