Japan finds more Bt10 corn

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2005, (Dow Jones via Cropchoice.com): Japan has discovered the unapproved Bt10 genetically modified organism in yet another shipment from the U.S., making it the fifth such find since the beginning of June, a Japanese government official said Tuesday.

Shin Yokoyama, agriculture counselor at the Japanese Embassy here, said 3,880 metric tons of corn were removed from a U.S. shipment that arrived in a port in Kashima, Japan. He said the corn was secured before it could reach the market.

Japan still tests for Bt10 with a zero tolerance level, but the country's Food Safety Commission is now considering the possibility of relaxing that.

Japan, the largest foreign market for U.S. corn, imported 603.8 million bushels in the 2003-04 marketing year, according to USDA data compiled by the National Corn Growers Association.

Switzerland's Syngenta AG announced March 22 that it inadvertently sold a limited amount of the unapproved Bt10 corn seed instead of the approved Bt11 to U.S. farmers who planted it on 37,000 acres from 2001 through 2004.

U.S. government and Syngenta officials have maintained that even though Bt10 was never approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Environmental Protection Agency, it is safe and nearly identical to Bt11 corn, which has been approved in the U.S.