Biotech Industry To Self-Regulate

Biotech crop makers are increasing self-regulation to avoid the accidental spread of genetic material, a move that will definitely benefit you and your grower-customers.

These incidents can cost companies access to foreign markets, consumer confidence, and big legal bills.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization, a Washington-based trade group, will design and administer the program, dubbed "Excellence Through Stewardship."

Member companies — including the world’s six largest providers of genetically modified seeds — will adopt quality management standards, then undergo independent third-party audits to verify compliance. The goal is to track and control genetic crop traits in research discovery, through field trials, marketing, and eventual phaseout.

No one wants these genes to turn up in places they’re not supposed to be — such as last year’s surprise finding of unapproved LibertyLink genes in commercially available long-grain rice.

Regulators found the trait, developed by Bayer CropScience, was harmless and subsequently approved it for the market. But damage was done: Japan, the European Union, and other countries closed to U.S. rice imports. Prices fell, then growers suffered and filed a class-action lawsuit against Bayer in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, MO.

"The industry is trying its best, in a world that’s not 100 percent perfect, to self-regulate and self-police because it’s in their best interest," says Marshall Martin, associate director of agricultural research programs at Purdue University.

The stewardship program will roll out in three phases. Companies will self-certify they have adopted the program in their domestic operations by early next year. At the end of next year, they will have completed audits by independent firms that are trained and certified by BIO, the industry organization. In 2009, BIO member companies will roll out the program to operations abroad.

Andrew Baum, chairman of BIO’s Food and Agricultural Section Governing Body, notes companies always have had quality management standards. "It’s not as if (the Bayer incident) took place and we had an epiphany," he says. "We were moving towards this anyway."

What’s more, the stewardship program should raise all boats by making the best practices of industry giants available to smaller companies, university researchers and players abroad, according to BIO.

Participants hope the program will stave off future leaks of biotech traits into conventional crops, which damage consumer acceptance of their products.

It’s a pivotal time for the industry, as it nears commercialization of a generation of crops engineered with traits that add consumer benefits– healthy-oil and omega-3 enriched soybeans, for example. Shoppers need to trust the safety of the technology for these to succeed.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina Nearing Deal To Buy Syngenta For Record $43 B…
February 3, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 Read More
Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide…
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Potash storage at Growmark
FertilizerThe Phosphate And Potash Outlook For 2016
February 2, 2016
Like other commodities, prices of the leading plant nutrient products dropped sharply in 2015. At this writing, the price of Read More
Chesapeake Bay
StewardshipKeeping A Watch On Water Issues
February 2, 2016
During a down cycle in the market, it’s difficult to think about investing for the long term. For retail businesses, Read More
Young Corn Plants
FertilizerNutrient Considerations For Low Corn Prices
February 2, 2016
Corn prices are low and many producers are asking tough questions about their nutrient management programs. Here are some suggestions Read More