EPA OK WITH PUTTING SPINACH GENES IN ORANGE TREES: Popeye
would be excited about the orange trees that Southern Gardens Citrus
wants to grow. The Clewiston, Fla.-based orange juice processor is
looking to insert two spinach genes into its trees, helping them to
stave off the citrus greening disease now plaguing Florida groves. EPA
has granted a temporary exemption from federal rules that govern
pesticide residues, according to a Federal Register notice set to
publish Wednesday. EPA says it found, given the long history of human
consumption of spinach, there appear to be little or no risks from the
use of the genes in citrus plants. The exemption expires April 2018.
the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, EPA must set limits, known as
tolerances, for how much of a given pesticide can be present on a given
food for it to be safe to consume. The rules also apply to substances
used in genetically modified crops to resist pests and diseases.
Southern Gardens still needs sign off from the Agriculture Department
before the trees can enter the market, however. See the Federal Register
notice here: http://bit.ly/1FNmcDJ.