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GM crop controls questioned

Company gets second fine, and a report examines adequacy of regulation and oversight.

Ted Agres(tedagres@lycos.com)

Another round in the debate over genetically modified (GM) foods began last week after reports that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had fined the nation's largest seed company $72,000 in a second crop contamination case. Meanwhile, a new report warns of "serious questions" about the government's ability to monitor regulatory compliance of GM crops after they have been approved for planting.

The EPA announced last week that Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (Des Moines, Iowa), had paid a $72,000 fine in March. The penalty was imposed after the company had failed to promptly report test data showing that a gene engineered to protect against corn rootworm had contaminated other experimental plants in an adjacent field at the company's isolated research facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

The penalty follows a separate $9,900 EPA fine imposed in December 2002 after Pioneer allegedly failed to comply with two conditions of an experimental use permit...

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