Russia suspends Monsanto corn imports
Russia has temporarily suspended importing genetically-modified corn made by the US biotech giant Monsanto after a controversial study linked it to cancer in rats.
The Rospotrebnadzor consumer protection agency said it was studying the French research findings and had commissioned help from a Russian institute to interpret the data further.
"Until we receive the full information in this case, the import and sale of genetically modified NK603 corn is being temporarily suspended," the agency said in a statement released on its website this week.
The study has been heavily criticised in part because the French researchers leading it have refused to let the European Union's food safety watchdog verify its results.
The University of Caen scientists argue that the agency is biased because it approved the corn in the first place.
But other US and European institutes have also questioned the size of the sample pool and completeness of the researchers' data.
NK603 is a type of corn that has been engineered to make it resistant to Roundup herbicide and is used by farmers to maximise yields.
A spokesman for Monsanto played down the importance of Russia's import disruption to his company.
"Russia is a net exporter of grain, so the actual impact of their temporary suspension, if any, is likely to be small," the spokesman was quoted as saying in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal.
(c) 2012 AFP