Brazilian authorities have fast-tracked numerous suicide seeds, and now Pioneer/DuPont/Dow’s genetically engineered maize 1507, which is also pending approval in the European Union, is becoming infested with pests after only three years of being approved for market in Brazil.
GM Maize 1507 was a joint creation of the biotech industry with funding from three of the biggest chemical companies under Monsanto. Made to be tolerant to glufosinate herbicides, it is a Bt crop which produces its own insecticidal protein. People exposed to this chemical have suffered gastrointestinal, neurological, cardiovascular, and/or respiratory manifestations.
One study published in the journal Crop Protection found that resistant populations of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) have become prevalent in the federal states Bahia and Rio Grande del Sul, Brazil. Fall armyworm was already a huge maize pest in this and other countries. The resistance in fall armyworm was first noted in 2012, just three years after Maize 1507 was given approval.
The makers of this strain of GM maize shouldn’t have been surprised. In 2008, studies conducted in Puerto Rico already proved that the pest insect had acquired a resistance to GM in 2008, again after just a few years of cultivation.
This points to the growing problem with short or non-existent field trials of GM seed. The US Department of Agriculture wants to fast-track genetically modified crops, even when their ‘tests’ are only conducted for a few short weeks. The result of this ridiculous support of biotech is now evidenced in longer-term crop failures.
Nearly 20 years after the start of commercialization of Bt crops, there are problems in several countries growing foods that have their own ‘internal’ pesticide. The best known example is Monsanto’s SmartStax maize that produces 6 different Bt toxins.
Nevertheless, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) issued a favorable opinion about Bt crop cultivation in 2005, but did not allow maize 1507. Because the EU Commission failed to approve maize 1507, Pioneer brought the Commission before the European Court of Justice. The court ruled in 2013 that the Commission must come to a final decision on cultivation soon.
Testbiotech is demanding a stop of the approval process for maize 1507, especially because there are fundamental data gaps in risk assessment and the crops themselves have become resistant to one of the biggest pests meant to be eliminated by biotech.
A graphic map of pest resistance is here: