Sales of a controversial strain of GMO corn manufactured by Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemicals company, will no longer be sold in Canada, Reuters reports.
The biotech company pulled its GMO corn seed variety that contains the Agrisure Duracade trait because major importers of corn have not approved the product. “The trait has been approved for cultivation in Canada and the United States and for import by some overseas buyers, including Japan, Mexico and South Korea,” reports Reuters, but, “it has not been approved for import by China or the European Union, two major international markets.”
The Duracade GMO corn variety is engineered to fight rootworms, “pests that can reduce harvests and cost farmers millions of dollars in pesticide expenses and lost revenue,” explains Reuters. “Exporters and some farmers applauded the decision because they had worried the presence of the unapproved trait in Canada’s grain supply could disrupt trade.”
Rootworms have shown immunity to Bt corn varieties, which are modified to include a bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis) intended to kill the pests. But in recent years, one of the biggest criticisms of genetic modification is that pests like the rootworm are showing resistance to the technology. The resistance has created a market demand for harsher pesticides, like 2,4-D, a major ingredient in the defoliant Agent Orange that was used during the Vietnam War.
“Since November, Chinese authorities have rejected more than 600,000 tonnes of U.S. corn and corn products containing another unauthorized genetically modified Syngenta corn trait, Agrisure Viptera”, reports Reuters. “Known as MIR 162, the trait has been awaiting Beijing’s approval for more than two years.”