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USDA finds Bayer's genetically modified corn safe to grow

US farmers will soon be able to grow a new type of corn genetically modified by Bayer AG to be shorter than typical crops, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said. APHIS reviewed a corn plant modified by Bayer through genetic engineering, stating that the plant “may be safely grown and bred” in the US, in a notice on Wednesday. Bayer modified the corn gene to reduce gibberellic acid – a plant growth hormone – to produce shorter plants and reduce the likelihood of stalk lodging (breakage of the corn stalk). Severe weather and stress during grain fill and stalk rot pathogens are common causes of the breakage. Bayer says it still needs approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and importing countries before it can launch the corn in the US. In a statement to FoodBev, Bayer said: "We are pleased that USDA has completed its review of our MON 94804 biotech short stature corn trait and we look forward to advancing through the process of obtaining pending approvals with other US agencies and relevant import countries. We anticipate our biotech short stature corn trait will be in the market mid-to-late this decade."

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