No. 4 Article 5/April 17, 2009

Germany Prohibits the Use of Bt Corn (MON 810)

The saga of Europe's cool reception to transgenic crops intensified recently (April 14) when Germany's Agriculture Minister, Ilse Aigner, indicated that she would no longer allow the cultivation of Bt corn (MON 810) in Germany. Corn hybrids (YieldGard) with the MON 810 event produce the Cry1Ab protein toxic to several lepidopteran pests, particularly European corn borers. Corn expressing the Cry1Ab protein (MON 810) has been approved by the European Union since 1998; however, several European countries have now banned the use of the hybrids with this event. These developments come at a time when the use of Bt corn hybrids, especially those with multiple events (stacked hybrids), is soaring across the United States. Although the Cry1Ab protein expressed by MON 810 corn hybrids is not effective against corn rootworms, it will nonetheless be interesting to see if Europe's acceptance of transgenic hybrids changes as western corn rootworms continue to disperse across the continent (20 countries as of 2007).--Mike Gray

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