The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on a petition to deregulate corn that has been genetically engineered to produce a microbial enzyme that facilitates ethanol production.
USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has regulated the corn, developed by Syngenta, since 2002.
If approved, the petition would allow the corn, which goes by the name Event 3272, to be freely grown and sold in the United States. According to APHIS, “If granted non-regulated status, Event 3272 corn could be the only GE variety available (specifically) for ethanol production.”
The petition has been submitted in accordance with APHIS regulations concerning the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms and products. In accordance with those regulations, they are soliciting comments on whether this genetically engineered corn is likely to pose a plant pest risk. USDA is also making available for public comment an environmental assessment for the proposed determination of nonregulated status.
Comments need to be submitted by January 20, 2009. More information can be found here on the Federal Regulations website.