The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final rule on February 12 creating an exemption for residue tolerance levels in soy foods and feed for the biological pesticide Bt used in GMO crops.  Similar exemptions have already been approved for corn and cotton food and products.

Bt_DeepDishThe bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, commonly known as Bt, has been widely used in organic agriculture for decades as a natural pesticide, because it produces a toxin that kills certain insects. In recent years, the DNA from the Bt bacterium has been incorporated into genetically modified corn, cotton and soybean crops to protect the plants from insects like the corn borer and cotton bollworm.

The genetically modified crops have the ability to manufacture this toxin, called the Cry1F protein, in every cell of the plant, including the portions used for human food and livestock feed. 

In making the exemption determination, the EPA concluded that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.”  This includes exposure through drinking water and residential setting. 

Federal statutes will now be modified to state:  Residues of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1F protein in the food and feed commodities of corn, field; corn, sweet; corn, pop; cotton; and soybean are exempt from the requirement of a tolerance when used as a plant incorporated protectant in corn, field; corn, sweet; corn, pop; cotton, and soybean.

The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA–HQ–OPP–2013–0704, is available at http://www.regulations.govAny objections to the final rule and/or a request for a hearing must be filed by April 14.

Last year the EPA also approved an increase in food residue levels for the herbicide glyphosate, the use of which is closely aligned with many GMO crops designed to be resistant to the Monsanto chemical.

Numerous research studies have demonstrated that GE foods can be harmful.  Authors of a recent study using the Bt toxins concluded that these proteins can cause harm to humans and livestock, and the risk increases with long-term exposure and with higher levels of toxins in our food.

Ref:  Mezzomo BP, Miranda-Vilela AL, Freire IdS, Barbosa LCP, Portilho FA, et al. (2013) Hematotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis as Spore-crystal Strains Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa in Swiss Albino Mice. J Hematol Thromb Dis 1: 104. doi:10.4172/jhtd.1000104


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