SGS Receives Non-GMO Project Certification
SGS Brookings laboratories have been approved by the Non-GMO Project to conduct polymerase chain reaction testing, which is required for companies to comply with that standard. Approved testing in the SGS ISO 17025 laboratory includes PCR testing of various grains and food materials. SGS uses quantitative PCR-based DNA detection technology to determine the amount of GMO present in samples. With the appropriate primer and probe combination, quantitative real-time PCR can detect precise amounts of GMO in samples. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization, created by leaders representing all sectors of the organic and natural products industry in the United States and Canada, to offer consumers a consistent non-GMO choice for organic and natural products that are produced without genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technologies.

Monsanto Receives U.S. Registration for Corn
Monsanto’s Genuity VT Double PRO RIB Complete has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, completing federal regulatory authorization in the United States. Commercialization is pending individual state authorizations and notifications. Genuity VT Double PRO RIB Complete is a blend of 95 percent Genuity VT Double PRO and five percent refuge (non-Bt) seed, delivering the lowest refuge in the corn-growing area for above-ground insect protection. “In 2012, this product will be offered by Monsanto brands and licensees across the corn-growing area,” says Brett Begemann, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Monsanto.

EPA Extends Monsanto Corn Registrations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the registrations of two corn trait products, Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete and Genuity SmartStax. The EPA granted the initial registration of Genuity SmartStax in 2009. “The registration extensions by the EPA reinforce the value of these dual mode-of-action products and the reduced refuge approaches that they make possible for U.S. corn farmers,” says Ty Vaughn, corn product lead at Monsanto.

USDA/APHIS Improves GE Petition Process
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced plans to streamline and improve the program processes its customers use most, including the agency’s process for making determinations on petitions for non-regulated status for genetically engineered plants. APHIS grants such petitions when it determines that a GE product does not pose a plant pest risk and should not be subject to APHIS regulation. “With the improvements, APHIS will significantly reduce the average length of the petition process while maintaining strong oversight,” says Ed Avalos, U.S. undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “The new process will also provide the opportunity for earlier input from the public on petitions for deregulations, allowing the USDA to better serve all its stakeholders. This change is part of our commitment to improving the customer experience by streamlining processes, accelerating delivery and using innovative technologies.”


Evaluation Report on EU’s GMO Legislation
The long-awaited evaluation report on the EU’s legislation on the cultivation and food and feed use of GMOs has been published by the European Commission. “The report is clear in its finding: the EU’s authorization system for cultivation of GM crops does not work,” says Garlich von Essen, secretary general of the European Seed Association. The commission underlined that the most important point—the unblocking of the authorization of new GM events—is already addressed by its proposal to re-nationalize the authorization for cultivation while maintaining the EU-level safety assessment. “The European seed sector has always underlined that such an approach is unworkable with a zero-tolerance policy for the inevitable mixing of GM and non-GM production in seed and fields. The report clearly underlines that this policy is causing a growing dis-harmonization and legal uncertainty for agri-food operators. We urge the commission to address this issue as a matter of utmost urgency in the coming months.”

Argentina Approves Syngenta’s Triple Stack Corn
Syngenta has announced that the Ministry of Agriculture in Argentina has approved its triple corn stack Bt11 x MIR162 x GA21 for cultivation in the country. The triple stack, which has already been successfully launched in Brazil, will be available to Argentine growers for the 2012/2013 season. “The approval of our triple stack corn seed confirms our leading offer for insect control in Argentina,” says John Atkin, chief operating officer at Syngenta. “It adds to the array of technology we are now bringing to corn growers as an integrated offer, including market-leading seed care and crop protection. Triple stack corn will be just one component contributing to the significant sales growth and market share gains which we expect to achieve in coming years.” The triple corn stack combines herbicide tolerance and insect resistance.

CFIA Speeds up Seed Import Pre-Clearance
Producers will now be able to get quality seed faster with improved seed import procedures. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency now has the ability to streamline pre-clearance procedures for imported seed, preventing backlog at the border and allowing approved seed to reach its destination more quickly. “This new procedure provides the flexibility needed to get safe, quality seed into the hands of producers faster,” says Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “This small change will benefit producers, importers and the entire Canadian agriculture sector by making sure import procedures reflect the speed of commerce.” The CFIA can now complete conformity assessments and issue required documents in advance for all imported seed that meets Canadian import requirements. When the shipment arrives at the border, the associated documentation will be verified and the seed can continue to its destination.

Chinese Imports of U.S. Corn Cause Concern
Syngenta has obtained United States and key import market approvals for the Agrisure Viptera trait for all major markets, as recommended by both the National Corn Growers Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. However, the company is still awaiting import approval from China. While Syngenta is in compliance with these industry association guidelines, some grain companies have indicated they will not accept grain containing the Agrisure Viptera trait. However, other major grain companies have told Syngenta that they are accepting grain containing the Agrisure Viptera trait. This situation has caused concern among some grain traders. Syngenta is working with the grain trade, the NCGA and other key stakeholders to determine how best to address this new situation with minimal disruption to the marketplace. Syngenta is also working diligently with China; the company applied for Chinese approval of the Agrisure Viptera trait in March 2010 and expects to receive regulatory clearance in late March 2012.

European Commission Authorizes Four GM Events for Food and Feed
The European Commission has adopted three decisions authorizing GM maizes MIR604xGA21, Bt11xMIR604 and Bt11xMIR604xGA21, and one decision authorizing GM cotton 281-24-236/3006-210-23. These four decisions cover the authorization for food and feed uses and import and processing, but not for cultivation. The products in question received (between May 2010 and June 2010) a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority and underwent the full authorization procedure set out in the EU legislation. As Member States did not succeed to return qualified majority decisions either in favor or ag
ainst these four authorizations, the files were sent back to the Commission for final decision.