Maine is joining the rest of the US in allowing farmers to grow a type of
genetically altered corn.
The Board of Pesticides Control voted to let farmers
grow the crop that's resistant to insects. It'll be used only for animal feed as
it is in other states, and the seed companies will have to provide sales data to
Organic growers concerned
have been concerned that their crops will be contaminated by cross-pollination
with the genetically modified corn. But the Board of Pesticides Control said
Friday that its mandate of reducing pesticide use and its concern about state
farmers being at a competitive disadvantage without the genetically altered feed
trumped those concerns.
"If we don't take advantage of this technology,
these farmers may not be here in five or 10 years down the road," board member
Richard Stevenson said. Critics urged the board not to cave to pressure for
Maine to follow the rest of the nation in adopting the use of Bacillus
thuringiensis, or Bt, corn. They said the modified corn poses a potential threat
to wildlife and plants, as well as people. "This technology has been out there
about a generation," said Peggy Gannon of Stetson, "and there have been no
long-term tests on humans."
The three companies that petitioned to sell the corn -- Dow
AgroSciences, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Monsanto -- also will be
required to provide sales data to the state so it can track the use of the
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