U.S. fines biotech companies more than $5,600
December 10, 2004
The Associated Press reports that federal regulators recently fined two biotech companies more than $5,600 for improperly handling genetically modified crops, but said they aren''t investigating the University of California, Davis for its role in unknowingly shipping engineered tomato seeds to researchers around the world. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Seminis Inc., of Oxnard $2,500 for shipping unlabeled genetically engineered seeds to the university, the agency reported last week. UC Davis, which operates one of the world''s top tomato seed banks, mistakenly distributed the modified tomato seeds to scientists who ordered conventionally bred ones. Davis officials said they believe none of the seeds ended up in the food supply because all were destined for research purposes. The USDA also fined The Scotts Co., of Marysville, Ohio $3,125 for failing to immediately notify authorities that grass seed genetically engineered to tolerate weed killer escaped from a test field in Madras, Ore. Last year, the USDA fined ProdiGene Inc. of College Station, Texas, $250,000 for failing to completely remove corn genetically engineered to produce a pig vaccine before growing soybeans.