Although public comment will be taken until April 5, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has said a genetically modified potato developed by Monsanto Co., poses no threat to other crops.
APHIS reported in a Federal Register notice that the potato-Line 82-does not need to be regulated. The comments will be on the proposal to stop regulating the new variety.
Monsanto had sought the unregulated status for a new Russet Burbank potato line genetically engineered to resist Colorado potato beetle and leaf roll virus. The variety is similar to a previously developed line which has already won USDA approval.
Law requires the USDA to monitor genetically altered crops until they have been proven safe to be around other crops. The EPA and the FDA regulate other aspects of biotech crops.
Monsanto's NatureMark potato development division spokesperson Stephanie Darchuk said the company's NewLeaf Plus Russet Burbank line completed FDA's review process in January 1998. The EPA review process was completed in November 1998.
This line will be NatureMark's third of three NewLeaf Plus lines to complete the regulatory review process. Lines 129 and 350 were granted deregulation status by the USDA in December 1998, Darchuk explained.