US approval of Monsanto's Xtend crops nears
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued a final environmental impact statement (EIS) on Monsanto's genetically modified herbicide-tolerant MON87708 soybeans and MON88701 cotton. The APHIS issued a draft EIS and proposed to deregulate the crops in August, subsequently extending public comment until October 10th. It received 4,693 submissions on the draft EIS and addressed them in the final document, the APHIS points out. The agency maintains that deregulation is its "preferred alternative" but the final EIS will be subject to a further 30-day review period before that decision is taken. The review period ends on January 12th 2015.