Despite a recent reversal by the FDA on the approval of Dow AgroSciences Enlist Duo herbicide, the USDA has recently approved a genetically modified strain of corn designed by Syngenta AG to resist another dual herbicide application.
The Syngenta Seeds corn trait known as MZHG0JG, is genetically engineered to resist applications of two herbicides: glyphosate, best known as Monsanto’s Roundup, and glufosinate, an herbicide with known neurological effects.
Syngenta claims that the strain of GMO corn will provide farmers with the ability to battle "superweeds"--weed resistance issues that have become a major problem for nearly half of the GMO crop farmers in recent years.
Glyphosate, Monsanto’s Roundup, is the primary companion herbicide for genetically modified crops including corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets. But numerous plants have developed a resistance to the herbicide, forcing farmers to apply heavier amounts of glyphosate and combinations of herbicides.
Earlier this year the World Health Organization listed glyphosate as “probably” being linked to cases of cancer, a claim the agrochemical and GMO seed companies refute, claiming there's not yet enough data to support the assessment.
The USDA had previously approved the trait in the new strain of Syngenta corn in other GMO corn plants on the market, but Syngenta will still have to complete the FDA approval process for MZHG0JG.
Just last month, the EPA said it was, at least temporarily, revoking approval for Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Duo herbicide, a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D—a chemical best known for its inclusion in Agent Orange, the Vietnam War defoliant. The EPA says the chemical company submitted conflicting information to several U.S. government agencies about the chemical weedkiller, and that it may pose a greater threat to wild plants and animals—some listed as threatened or endangered—than previously stated.
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GMO corn image via Shutterstock