On October 27, 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a notice in the federal register of its decision to deregulate a genetically engineered corn created by Monsanto Company. The corn is engineered to protect against rootworm and for resistance to the herbicide glyphosate.
Under 7 CFR part 340, APHIS is authorized to regulate genetically modified products that are plant pests or there is reason to believe they may be plant pests and are considered “regulated articles.” Significantly, 7 CFR § 340.6(a), allows for the submission of a petition to APHIS which can have the product removed from regulated status.
Accordingly, Monsanto sent in a petition for the deregulation of corn variety they designated as MON 87411. Based on Monsanto field studies and laboratory analyses, Monsanto concluded MON 87411 should not be considered a plant pest under § 340. APHIS conducted a plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and environmental assessment (EA), and based upon its findings concluded the new corn strain was unlikely “to pose a plant pest risk to agriculture and other plants in the United States,” and “deregulation is not likely to have a significant impact on the human environment."