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Organic Consumers Association

Bt Crops Could Be Monsanto's Greatest Failure

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Monsanto's "Bt corn" is equipped with a gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces Bt toxin-a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.

This pesticide-producing genetically modified (GM) corn entered the food supply in the late 1990s, but it wasn't until 2003 that the Bt corn that kills western corn rootworm was commercialized in Illinois.

Corn rootworm is one of the most devastating pests to corn crops, and it has historically been managed in conventional farming by crop rotation and the use of insecticides applied to the soil.

With Bt corn, the use of such insecticides was supposed to be curbed  but now, just 10 years later, the pests are already developing resistance to the GM corn and other serious consequences are also being uncovered.

Corn Rootworm Is Growing Increasingly Resistant to Bt Corn

Farmers in at least two Illinois counties have experienced severe damage from corn rootworm this growing season, providing evidence that the pests have grown resistant to the Bt corn.

Other areas in Illinois, as well as Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Iowa have also been struggling with rotation-resistant rootworm that experts believe may soon develop resistance to the GM corn as well.        


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