The Environmental Protection Agency announced it will renew the registration on Bt corn for seven years. The registration was renewed after the EPA determined that the genetically engineered corn posed no risk to humans, animals or Monarch butterflies.
Bt corn, is engineered to produce the pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis, which protects the corn plants from destructive pests. The five Bt corn varieties made by Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical and Syngenta AG received initial EPA approval in 1995.
“Bt corn has been evaluated thoroughly by EPA and we are confident that it does not pose risks to human health or the environment,” says Stephen Johnson, assistant administrator of the EPA’s pesticide office. “The safeguards incorporated into these registrations will ensure that farmers can continue to use an effective, low-risk pest control alternative, which helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of conventional pesticides used.”
The safeguards are as follows:
- Under the original registration and continued in this second registration seedmakers are required to collect data about how long the Bt protein remains in the soil and conduct studies on the long-term effects on the Monarch butterfly populations. Additional studies on birds and other insects are planned.
- Under the new rules included in the second registration companies marketing Bt corn will be required to monitor insect resistance to the crop and file annual reports on their resistance management plans. If resistance is detected, companies must adopt remedial action plans.
- Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta must teach producers the best way to plant Bt corn to minimize the risk of insect resistance.
- An independent group will survey growers each year to make sure they comply with the new requirements.