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Tracking the History of Genetic Contamination in Seed/Crop Sources

September 2000
Starlink corn, a genetically modified corn containing insecticidal protein, was EPA approved as strictly animal feed. The chemical make up of Starlink corn does not allow for easy digestion in humans, is heat resistant and could be allergenic for some. Aventis, the manufacturer of Starlink corn, was notified that its corn was found to have contaminated Krafts taco shells. Biotech activist who discovered traces of the genetic material in their local Washington D.C. supermarkets made the discovery. One month later Japan found traces of Starlink corn in import food and feed items. As a result Japan and Korea have recalled all Starlink corn products.

March 29, 2001
A Canadian farmer was found guilty and ordered to pay Monsanto thousands of dollars in royalty payments for patent violations on GM canola seed found in his fields. Pollen from genetically engineered seeds blew on his land from neighboring farms using the GM seeds.

September 2001
Mexican maize is contaminated by GM corn varieties imported from the U.S. Many fear that the centre for maize diversity (Meso America) will be genetically polluted as well as the maize banks that house diverse and extinct varieties of corn.

March, 29, 2002
Approximately 10,000 genetically engineered salmon escaped from their farm pens in Scotland. Wild salmon may be at risk for gene dilution, food competition, and novel disease introduction by these biotech fish.

July 15, 2002
To date over 300 field trials are being conducted in the U.S. to test genetically engineered biopharmaceutical crops. These new plants will be able to produce: abortion-inducing chemical, growth hormones, blood clotters, trypsin, and an allergic enzyme. Cross contamination may infect fields used for human consumption.
Corn comprises the majority of engineered biopharmaceuticals and chemicals because of its productive ability to pollinate.

August 14, 2002
Pioneer Hi-Bred has been accused of contaminating nearby crop fields, in Hawaii, with their genetically modified corn crops. Not only were they too close to other field sites, Pioneer was also not authorized to plant at that particular location.
A unit of Dow AgroSciences LLC, Mycogen Seeds, is also accused of genetic contamination. The company failed to plant trees as a windbreak around its corn crop to prevent pollen from spreading. In addition, Mycogen planted the wrong kind of unmodified corn as its buffer to the experimental corn.
Both companies are testing bio-engineered corn for pesticide resistance against rootworm and reliance on chemical sprays. Neither version is approved for human consumption. To date both companies faces an $11,000 fine.

July 17, 2002
British researchers have discovered that antibiotic resistant marker genes were found in the human gut. Three of seven volunteers who digested soy burgers and milkshakes, that were comprised of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans, were found to have antibiotic resistant markers that survived in their lower intestines. Previous reports stated that GM food could not survive digestion and would not combine with bacteria in the human gut. This has proven not to be the case and could potentially lead to a resistance in antibiotic medications for those who have compromised immune systems and as well as weaker digestive systems. (infants, children, elderly, AIDS patients, etc.)

August 16, 2002
Unauthorized genetically modified seeds were found in GM rapeseed fields. The fields are scientific UK government sites located in London and Scotland. The unauthorized strain came from Aventis CropScience Ltd.

September 2002
The US Department of Agriculture ordered the biotech firm, ProdiGene to destroy 155 acres of corn. It was discovered that Prodigene’s GM corn cross pollinated several nearby fields. The USDA is not requiring ProdiGene to monitor this site and the issue was been resolved to the satisfaction of the USDA.

November 2002
The US Department of Agriculture ordered the destruction of 500,000 bushels or $2.7 million worth of Soya beans destined for human consumption. Apparently, the Soya was planted at the same site in addition to nearby fields where ProdiGene’s GM maize was planted the year before. The GM maize contamination, which could be either a pharmaceutical or industrial chemical, was discovered in a US grain elevator. This is the second time that the USDA has had to intervene on ProdiGene’s planting of GM crops. ProdiGenet may be expected to pay fines up to $500,000 if they fail to abide by federal regulations for experimental field trials on new crops. According to ProdiGene the contamination could be one of the following:
1) Aids vaccine gp120 - a glycoprotein
2) Blood-clotting agent - Aprotinin
3) Trypsin ­ Digestive enzyme - can be used in leather tanning or to produce insulin
4) Industrial adhesive laccase - an enzyme derived from fungus

December 2002
Fines were finally levied against Dow Agrosciences and Pioneer HI-Bred for failing to explicitly comply with the EPA's genetically modified corn permits they were issued in Hawaii. Dow Agrosciencesreceived an $8800 fine for it's Moloka'i research site for failing to properly isolate their "bt corn" behind other plant barriers. Pioneer was cited $9,000 for improperly planting their "bt corn." Not only did Pioneer plant in the wrong location at the Waimea Research Center, they also planted too close to other corn plots.