Biotechnology Companies Fined for Violating Permit Conditions

Statement of CSPI Biotechnology Project Director Gregory Jaffe


We are pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is fining biotechnology companies that blatantly violated permit conditions. However, the puny fines may have little deterrent value.

EPA needs to institute a strong inspection and compliance program if the food supply and the environment are to be protected from GE crop experiments. EPA should regularly inspect all field trials of experimental GE crops and conduct random inspections of commercial plantings of approved GE crops. Also, additional containment measures should be imposed on new permits issued to violators such as Pioneer and Mycogen.

The violations in Hawaii by Pioneer and Mycogen, as well as recent violations in Iowa and Nebraska by Prodigene, provide ample evidence that the biotechnology industry cannot be trusted on its own to safeguard the food supply and environment. It is ironic that the biotechnology industry itself is jeopardizing public acceptance of a potentially invaluable technology.

It is clear from today’s actions that the violations by Pioneer may have resulted in the contamination of other corn varieties grown in Hawaii. To alleviate the public’s concerns about contamination of the food supply or the environment, EPA should release all information that describes the genetic make-up and disposition of corn crops in the immediate vicinity of the violations.

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