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Monsanto seeks approval for new Bt corn

(March 15, 2002 – CropChoice news) – Monsanto has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for permission to commercialize a new Bt corn. The USDA placed a Federal Registe notice asking for public comments on Monsanto’s request by May 13, 2002.

Like its predecessors, Bt corn is genetically engineered to express a natural insecticidal bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

The National Academy of Sciences last month urged the USDA to tighten its reviews of the potential environmental effects of transgenic crops before approving commercialization.

Here is a copy of the request for public comment.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service[Docket No. 00-078-1]Monsanto Co.; Availability of Petition and Environmental Assessment for Determination of Nonregulated Status for Corn Genetically Engineered for Insect ResistanceAGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.ACTION: Notice.-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received a petition from Monsanto Company seeking a determination of nonregulated status for corn designated as Event MON 863, which has been genetically engineered for insect resistance. The petition has been submitted in accordance with our regulations concerning the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms and products. In accordance with those regulations, we are soliciting public comments on whether this corn presents a plant pest risk. We are also making available for public comment an environmental assessment for the proposed determination of nonregulated status.

DATES: We will consider all comments we receive that are postmarked, delivered, or e-mailed by May 13, 2002.ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by postal mail/commercial delivery or by e-mail. If you use postal mail/commercial delivery, please send four copies of your comments (an original and three copies) to Docket No. 00-078-l, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. 00-078-1.

If you use e-mail, address your comment to regulations@aphis.usda.gov. Your comment must be contained in the body of your message; do not send attached files. Please include your name and address in your message and Docket No. 00-078-1 on the subject line.You may read a copy of the petition for a determination of nonregulated status submitted by Monsanto Company, the environmental assessment, and any comments we receive on this notice of availability in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141, USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure that someone is available to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS dockets, are available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. John Turner, PPQ, APHIS, Suite 5B05, 4700 River Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-8365. To obtain a copy of the petition or the environmental assessment, contact Ms. Kay Peterson at (301) 734-4885; e-mail: Kay.Peterson@aphis.usda.gov.