December 5, 2008

GM cotton processed into animal feed by mistake in US


Some restricted genetically modified (GM) cotton was made into cottonseed oil and cotton meal to use as animal feed until the manufacturing company, Monsanto discovered the error.


The incident occurred in US, Texas last month but government officials have dismissed safety hazards on Wednesday, (Dec 3).


The company only notified officials of the mistake on Nov 10.


Eric Flamm, a senior adviser at the Food and Drug Administration said that about 230 kilogrammes of the experimental cotton seed contains a pesticide protein was mixed with about 60 tonnes of commercial cotton growing close by.


As much as half of the crop was processed into cottonseed oil and cotton meal to use as animal feed before manufacturers at Monsanto realised the blunder. The company was growing the cotton on a test plot. 


Flamm pointed out that most of the mixed crop that was processed into animal feed was already consumed as cattle feed. Two truckloads of the crop were sent to Mexico but US officials have notified the country.


The FDA, Environmental Protection Agency and Agriculture Department are investigating to determine what enforcement action is warranted against Monsanto.


The company learnt about the experimental crop mix eight days after the incident when field researchers could not find the experimental crop which was grown in a separate plot next to other cotton crops.

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