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GM Crops, Trait Approvals and LLPs, Oh My!

January 9, 2014 by Peter

I read an interesting article this morning (read it here: about Syngenta waiting for China to approve a certain GM trait, and wanted to share it with a few thoughts about the process.

Photo courtesy of the LA Times article and (Daniel Acker / Bloomberg)

One of the interesting things about GM crops is the approval process traits go through before they are released to the market.  One of the more interesting (or some might say frustrating) aspects of this process is the approval for export to other countries.  Because grain varieties become intermingled from the time of harvest to export, companies have to be very careful about which traits are released so they don’t cause loads of an export to be rejected at a country’s border.

Recently China rejected two loads of corn (546,000 tons!) (see the article here:,0,2126813.story#axzz2puYBqI33) because it contained genetically modified corn that wasn’t approved by them.  So you can imagine that there is much at stake when developing traits and putting them into the market for production.

Oftentimes countries will establish an agreement of Low-Level Presence of GM traits because the reality is, with the grain market and infrastructure the way it is, there is bound to be an intermingling of GM and conventional commodities. has a great article describing the process and some of the issues faced by different groups and countries involved in commodity trading.



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