GENET archive


8-Misc: Genetic ID's new GMO tests can save U.S.corn

----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------

TITLE:  Genetic ID's new GMO tests can save U.S.corn
SOURCE: Genetic ID, USA, Press Release (not yet available at, edited and sent by Agnet, Canada
DATE:   March 23, 2000

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Genetic ID's new GMO tests can save U.S.corn

FAIRFIELD, Iowa -- Genetic ID, Inc., the pioneer and world leader in 
testing foods for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), has 
developed cost-effective tests that could help save hundreds of 
millions of dollars in U.S. corn and corn-based food exports to Japan 
and restore stalled U.S. corn exports to Europe. The tests, which 
screen for specific unapproved varieties of GMOs, promise to protect 
U.S. exporters from risks of refused shipments and legal penalties.

A new Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare regulation bans imports 
of unapproved genetically modified (GM) corn varieties for human 
consumption. The new regulation has zero tolerance; if any amount of 
GMO is detected, corn shipments can be rejected and products seized 
and destroyed. Importers may also face fines and criminal penalties.

The regulation will be enforced starting April 1, 2001 and has 
sparked protests from the U.S. agricultural sector, which witnessed 
corn exports to the EU plummet from $305 million in 1996 to only $1 
million in 1999 due to GMO restrictions, according to a recent New 
York Times article. Japan is the largest export market for U.S. corn, 
buying an average 480 million bushels a year, or 31 percent of all 
U.S. corn exported.

"This high-risk situation demands precise, reliable, and consistent 
testing to detect the unapproved varieties," says Dr. Bernd Schoel, 
Genetic ID, director of analytical services. "The new 'varietal test' 
solves this problem, reducing the risks for exporters."

Genetic ID's DNA tests can reliably detect as little as two molecules 
of genetically modified DNA and identify all the commercialized GM 
varieties of grains, fruits, and vegetables on the market. Genetic 
ID's two new varietal tests identify the seven GM corn varieties 
unapproved in Japan, and the 11 varieties unapproved in the EU. In 
addition, Genetic ID can quickly develop variety-specific tests for 
any GMOs unapproved by any trading partner. For example, tests can be 
developed for U.S.-grown GM tomatoes, squash, and other products not 
approved in Japan.

"With each nation creating their own list of unapproved varieties and 
labeling thresholds for GMOs, exporters face unprecedented 
challenges," says Bill Witherspoon, Genetic ID's chief executive 
officer. "Genetic ID's varietal tests, which cost as little as a 
penny per bushel, and our threshold tests which cost even less, 
provide industry with the tools to navigate through the maze of 
regulation and risk."

Genetic ID, in cooperation with LawLabs of the United Kingdom, also 
developed Cert ID, the world's first non-GMO certification program, 
which provides further protection with third-party assurance of non-
GMO production.

Consistent, reliable testing around the globe eliminates risks 
Genetic ID has performed hundreds of thousands of GMO tests, and its 
testing method is recognized worldwide for unsurpassed accuracy and 
reliability. Laboratories around the world have licensed Genetic ID's 
technology, which uses stringent controls to guard against false 
positive and false negative results. By testing with Genetic ID's 
labs in the U.S. and Japan, or with its licensees around the globe, 
companies can ensure consistent, reliable testing before and after 
export. This will prevent accidental shipments of unapproved 
varieties into Japan and Europe.


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