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EPA Settles with Two Biotech Seed Production Companies
Release Date: 10/25/2002
Contact Information: Amy Miller
SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has
settled cases with two Midwest companies over the alleged mishandling of genetically modified corn
grown for seed under strict field testing conditions in Hawai'i.
Today's action simultaneously issues and settles the complaints with Pioneer Hi-Bred
International, Inc. (a subsidiary of DuPont) of Johnston, Iowa and Dow AgroSciences of
Indianapolis, Indiana. The complaints allege failure to comply with the conditions of the EPA's
Experimental Use Permits for growing genetically modified corn seed.
An Experimental Use Permit is issued under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide
Act (FIFRA) which is overseen by the EPA to allow for field testing of new pesticides in order
to generate the data necessary to support their registration as pesticides. The EPA contends that the
companies did not comply with certain permit requirements to grow genetically modified corn.
These corn varieties have been modified to contain genes that help protect the corn plant from pests.
EPA regulates these types of products under a rigorous science-based regulatory process.
While Dow and Pioneer neither admit nor deny any wrongdoing with this settlement, both
companies have agreed to pay penalties to resolve the enforcement actions. The settlement reached
with Dow is for $8,800 and the settlement reached with Pioneer is for $9,900.
"EPA required strict conditions in these particular permits to maximize containment to ensure
that no pollen from the experimental corn is transferred to other corn," explained Wayne Nastri, the
regional administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. "Companies using experimental
permits to field test genetically modified corn need to abide by the conditions in the permit."
Both cases were initiated after EPA conducted inspections in March 2002 at Dow AgroSciences
and Pioneer's research fields on the islands of Molokai and Kauai. According to the complaints, the
EPA inspector found that:
Dow AgroSciences did not have an appropriate tree buffer around its experimental corn field
and failed to use hybrid corn varieties as a buffer crop, both of which were required to ensure
Pioneer Hi-Bred planted its experimental corn in an unapproved location, which was within
1,260 feet of other Pioneer seed production corn.
In addition to paying a monetary penalty in this case, Pioneer Hi-Bred must perform additional
crop testing to determine if any genetic material from the experimental plants were transferred to
unmodified corn grown by Pioneer Hi-Bred in the adjacent fields. This testing will ensure that the
corn seed grown under the permit restrictions is contained.
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