Bookmark and Share August 18, 2010 - Dave Mulder

Genetically-modified corn found growing in Ireland

Genetically-modified corn seed is used all over America’s heartland. We’re used to it. In other parts of the world, such as Europe, GM seeds have been banned from use.

That’s what makes the recent discovery of frankenmaize in Ireland a significant agricultural news story.

According to a press release issued late yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [2], routine tests by DAFF discovered that the Pioneer Hi-Bred maize is contaminated by Monsanto’s patented GM “event” NK603. The genetic modification forces the crop to survive heavy spraying with glyphosate, part of the cocktail of toxic chemicals contained in Monsanto’s controversial Roundup herbicide. [3]

Ireland’s government tests seeds to see how well they’ll fair in the country’s climate and soil. Those seeds come from massive vendors like Monsanto and DuPont, and require documentation that they have not been genetically modified.

In this case, the GM certification was not valid.

The EPA says that Pioneer provided a “certificate of analysis” claiming the maize was GM-free. But random tests by DAFF found that 3 out of every 1,000 plants were contaminated by the illegal GM maize variety. That’s about 300 illegal GM crops per hectare

The field of corn was destroyed before the plants reached flowering stage (when they could cross-pollinate other stock), but the event still raises concerns that contamination of natural seed lines is inevitable.

Thanks to Food Freedom for keeping their ears open on this story,

Photo credit: *MarS on Flickr

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