Research Backs Theory GM
Corn Kills Monarch Butterflies
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A two-year field study on the effects of genetically engineered (GE) corn backs up evidence that pollen from the GE crop can kill monarch butterflies, Greenpeace said.
An Iowa State University study published in the science journal Oecologia concluded that the risk to monarch butterflies "may be substantial," in line with the results of a 1999 laboratory study from Cornell University, Greenpeace said Monday in a statement.
The Iowa study warned: "The ecological effects of transgenic insecticidal crops need to be evaluated more fully before they are planted over extensive areas."
It urged cereal manufacturers like Kellogg's to stop using untested GE foods.
"Kellogg's can no longer ignore doctors and scientists who have warned that these foods may not be safe for our children or our environment," said Greenpeace genetic engineering specialist Charles Margulis.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has already allowed 8.1 million hecta res (20 million acres) of insecticidal Bt corn to be grown in the United States and has postponed its review of GE crops for another year, Greenpeace said.
"Bt corn only benefits the biotech industry while putting consumers and the environment at risk," Margulins said.
"While the world is rejecting these genetically contaminated foods," he added, "Kellogg's continues to force feed Americans unlabeled GE foods."
"Kellogg's is obviously willing to put its biotech buddies ahead of its customers, and monarch butterflies, when it comes to safe food and the environment."
Greenpeace said it was preparing a series of legal challenges to the EPA's registration of Bt crops.
Two companies that produce the genetically altered corn known as Bt corn, Monsanto and Novartis, harshly criticized the Cornell University study when it was released last month.
They argued that the caterpillars that become monarch butterflies were allowed to eat only milkweed leaves dusted with Bt corn pollen. But the statement Friday said that in a natural setting, the caterpillars could move about and avoid eating the pollen.
The statement also said that most monarch larvae feed on milkweed when the corn pollen is not present.
The monarch is a large and colorful North American species considered to be among the most beautiful butterflies in the world. Half of the species' summer population is concentrated within the Midwestern United States, a region known as the corn belt.

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