Japan OKs SmartStax Imports

SmartStax corn, developed by Dow AgroSciences LLC and Monsanto Co., has received full Japanese regulatory approval for importation of its grain production. What’s the impact on SmartStax’ anticipated 2010 commercial launch?

It’s a key regulatory milestone for the corn seed trait combination developed to provide U.S. and Canadian corn growers the most comprehensive above- and below-ground weed and insect control and allow a significant reduction in the structured refuge requiremen, according to the two manufacturers. According to USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, Japan imports represent 20 percent of the world’s corn exports for the 2009 marketing year, or 640 million bushels.

The food, feed, and environmental safety of SmartStax corn were each reviewed and approved by the government agencies in Japan. These approvals follow the U.S. and Canadian regulatory approvals granted on July 20. With these approvals, SmartStax can be produced and planted in the U.S. and Canada and grain can be imported to Japan.

“The breakthrough of SmartStax is the field performance achieved by combining these already established and globally approved traits,” says Jerry Hjelle, Monsanto vice president of regulatory affairs. “Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences teams are working closely to obtain the few remaining import approvals ahead of the 2010 launch.

“These timely Japanese approvals are important; Japan is a valued importer of U.S. and Canadian corn, and SmartStax adds to our effort to provide a sustainable supply of high-quality corn to the Japanese market,” says Brad Shurdut, global biotech regulatory and government affairs leader for Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co.

Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences plan to launch SmartStax on 3 to 4 million-plus acres in 2010. Monsanto will bring the corn product to market as Genuity SmartStax. Dow AgroSciences plans to offer SmartStax through its seed brands which include Mycogen, Dairyland, Renze, Brodbeck, and Triumph.

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