From: Associated Press
Published December 22, 2006 12:00 AM

Syngenta Agrees to Pay $1.5 Million EPA Fine for Distributing Genetically Modified Corn

MINNEAPOLIS — A company that sold and distributed seed corn containing an unregistered genetically engineered pesticide has agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The settlement between the EPA and Syngenta Seeds Inc. was filed Thursday with the Environmental Appeals Board, which must still approve the penalty, the EPA said in a news release.

Syngenta voluntarily disclosed in 2004 that it may have unintentionally distributed the genetically modified corn, called Bt10, to the United States, Europe and South America.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA investigated and confirmed the unregistered seed corn was distributed on more than 1,000 occasions.

Syngenta said in a statement that the Bt10 corn was mistakenly supplied to U.S. growers as Bt11 corn, an approved product, between 2001 and 2004. The Bt10 corn was supplied in small amounts, the company said.

While the federal government concluded there are no human health or environmental concerns with Bt10 corn, it is illegal to distribute a pesticide that's not registered under federal law.

"We agree to the settlement and we welcome the conclusion of EPA's two-year-long investigation," Syngenta spokeswoman Sarah Hull said.

Syngenta reached a $375,000 settlement with the USDA in the case in 2005, Hull said.

Source: Associated Press

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