Monday, October 28, 2013

GM Industry Splits Over Genetically Engineered Biofuels

GM Industry Splits Over Genetically Engineered Biofuels:

Vice President Jim Blair said that in 2011 when North American Millers Association  (NAMA), which represents 43 major food companies including General Mills and ConAgra Mills, opposed the licensing of a new type of corn (maize), specifically genetically engineered for the biofuels industry.
Since then, as the acreage of GM biofuels corn has increased, so have the fears that it will contaminate corn for food and food processing and devastate the market for those crops.
The corn in question is called Enogen. It has been developed to speed up the production of ethanol.
It is genetically engineered to contain high levels of a heat-resistant enzyme that breaks down starches in corn into sugars, the first step in the conversion of corn to ethanol.
The problem is that Enogen could mix with corn grown for food and break down its starches, which would lead to crumbly corn chips and soggy cereals and corn bread.
Pro-GM hype giving way to contamination concerns
NAMA members are often at the forefront of the pro-GM lobby. Some of them – like General Mills – have donated millions of dollars opposing GM labelling initiatives in California and Washington State.
But Enogen has got them questioning the hype they readily accept in other cases. There is nothing like a splash of self-interest to cause a bit of dissension in the corporate world.
According to NAMA it would only take one kernel of Enogen GM corn mixed with 10,000 kernels of food corn to ruin the food processing abilities of food corn
“Getting contamination from Enogen in corn for the tortilla industry would be devastating,” said Jerry Strissel, a corn breeder who worked at Syngenta for 20 years.

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