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drug-producing crops facing legal lockdown
But it is suspected that ensuring food safety is not the only motivation for big companies like Monsanto. Fear of drugs
Plants whose share prices have fallen may eventually enter the food market, which has sparked growing criticism of the Department of Agriculture\'s regulations governing Pharma.
The problem peaked in 2002, when corn improved to produce drug proteins was found in regular soybean fields in Iowa and NEAs.
The US-based ProdiGene company left the seeds in the field after harvesting the improved corn.
ProdiGene was ordered to pay US dollars on December;
3 million clean-
Increased fees and fines for breach of permit.
The incident triggered a call for stricter rules, and the USDA is in public consultation as a prelude to revising its regulations.
\"We must restore public confidence,\" John Howard, founder and consultant of ProdiGene, told New scientists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Denver.
\"We need to stop seeing these plants as valuable.
Increased agriculture and treated them like pharmaceutical.
For example, Howard said ProdiGene did not do enough to ensure that growers followed the rules.
Like drug production, he said, companies need to monitor the whole process from start to finish and be inspected by external agencies.
They don\'t need to do so at the moment.
\"The system has too many degrees of freedom,\" Howard said . \".
More controversial, Howard believes that the current zero-tolerance policy for any food crop pollution does not help companies and consumers.
He said that the risks posed by each pharm plant should be assessed and used to set reasonable pollution limits, just like setting limits for pesticide, dirt and microbial contamination.
\"Then, if the system crashes and a factory gets away, we know the level of risk,\" he said . \".
Howard cited two ProdiGene products & colon, which went public in 2002;
Enzyme enzymes and enzyme inhibitors of enzymes aprotinin.
These proteins are usually obtained from cattle, but the fear of mad cow disease is notanimal sources.
Howard believes that because these proteins are present in foods such as beef guts, the risk is small if pollution does occur.
He acknowledged that efforts were needed to prove that they were harmless.
\"But I always thought it was worth it,\" he said . \"
Jon McIntyre of the agricultural giant Monsanto says his company is also willing to go beyond existing regulations.
Monsanto is building a system for producing antibodies.
Produce corn for other companies.
S. Department of Agriculture\'s proposed guidelines require that processed corn be separated by 400 m from other corn, and that it should not be planted within two weeks of planting any corn crop nearby to prevent any possibility of cross-cuttingpollination.
McIntyre said his team is already growing crops with four times the physical buff and double the time.
He said the group would be prepared to increase the distance to more than 8 kilometres if necessary.
In fact, according to McIntyre, Monsanto has put in place a series of surprising safeguards, including the use of men --
Sterile plants that do not produce pollen, satellite monitoring of adjacent fields on a daily basis to verify that there is no corn, and special harvesting and processing equipment to prevent mixing with food.
As an additional guarantee to prevent mistakes such as ProdiGene, the Monsanto team ensured that no food crops were planted in the fields where medicinal corn was planted for two consecutive years.
Instead, it grows a variety of cotton and is resistant to herbicides that kill any remaining corn plant.
\"This is a closed
\"The loop system is completely out of the commercial grain system,\" McIntyre said . \".
Academic institutions are also particularly cautious.
The Charles Arntzen team at Tempe Arizona State University is inserting genes for the Norwalk virus that may cause severe diarrhea into plants such as tomatoes to create an oral vaccine against the virus.
To create about 80,000 of the dose needed for clinical trials, the university built a sealed greenhouse with fine contents
Filters, double doors, controlled airflow and many other features that exceed the current federal guidelines.
\"There are no insects or seeds to go in and out unless we allow,\" Arntzen said . \".
The organization intends to make its plants sterile and, as a further guarantee, will use a white tomato that will never be mistaken for a grain crop.
\"Eating It is like chewing sawdust,\" he said . \"
But Arntzen is concerned that regulation may go too far.
His oral vaccine is the most valuable for poor countries, and he believes there should be a worldwide pharmaceutical standard.
\"A strong regulatory framework is needed that can be implemented in developed and developing countries,\" he said . \".
\"We do not want insurmountable barriers to entry.
\"While companies support some strict new rules, they don\'t want to regulate other aspects of the pharmaceutical industry.
For example, it is recommended to produce medicinal proteins only in non-drugs
Many researchers resist eating plants.
They believe that, for example, the production of proteins in tobacco will create new problems, such as the need to remove toxic biological alkali substances and identify new processing methods.
\"One of the great things about food is that you can use off-the-
\"Shelf technology,\" Arntzen said.
\"If you can make ketchup, you can make a vaccine.
Arntzen and Howard said this could mean that it is ultimately possible to create a vaccine with a dose of penny for the developing world.
But Jane Reisler of the relevant league of scientists said there is no reason for the potential benefits of pharmaceutical crops to limit regulations that control their growth.
\"It is important to remember that they have not yet proven that they can grow these crops safely anywhere, any country,\" she said . \".
The debate may become more intense as the USDA begins to finalize its regulations. Anti-
GM activists are pushing for the strictest rules, and Arntzen believes Monsanto could do the same.
\"This adds barriers to entry to their competitors,\" he said . \".
\"Check satellite data every day and have all the dedicated equipment-a small company can\'t do that.