|16 February 2006
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and colleagues,
RE: High lysine corn (LY038) deregulated in the US, but safety still in doubt
Effective 23 January 2006, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture has deregulated GM corn LY038, which has been genetically engineered to produce higher lysine levels. Lysine is an essential amino acid, which is currently added as a synthetic supplement to animal feed.
LY038 will be marketed by Renessen, a joint venture between Monsanto and Cargill, and will be sold under the name Mavera™ High Value Corn with Lysine. Renessen is reportedly seeking the necessary regulatory clearances for LY038 in all key import markets, and until those approvals are obtained, it claims that grains containing LY038 will only be marketed to specific end users in the US.
Renessen would like to see the high lysine corn planted on 4 million acres in the United States as well as in Argentina, plus 1 million acres in Brazil, according to Monsanto. Profits will be equally shared by Monsanto and Cargill.
According to news reports, Renessen has also applied to regulators in Japan, Canada, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia for LY038 approval.
APHIS said that it had decided to deregulate LY038 based on its evaluation of data submitted by Monsanto, analysis of other scientific data, and comments received from the public. APHIS essentially found “no significant impact”.
However, there are scientists and others who have raised serious questions about the adequacy of the risk assessment conducted by Monsanto on LY038.
In January 2005, the New Zealand Institute of Gene Ecology (NZIGE), based at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, submitted a submission on LY038 to Food Standards Australia/New Zealand (FSANZ). This was in response to application A549, which is an application to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to allow foods derived from corn line LY038 to be sold in Australia and New Zealand.
NZIGE conclude that significant additional information should be provided by Monsanto before a decision is made on the application. NZIGE asserts that there have been significant advances in biosafety and risk assessment science that were not consistently reflected in the application, and that the studies submitted to support the application do not consistently meet the standard of the science.
We are pleased to provide below the overview, abstract, introduction and summary of major recommendations of the submission by NZIGE on LY038. The full document can be found at http://www.nzige.canterbury.ac.nz/documents/submissionA549.pdf
With best wishes,
Lim Li Ching
Third World Network
121-S Jalan Utama
Website: www.biosafety-info.net and www.twnside.org.sg