Strategic Diagnostics partners with Monsanto

Bio-tech giant Monsanto is to develop diagnostic test kits for genetically modified (GM) traits in crops that may have been used as food ingredients in collaboration with Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (SDI), developer and manufacturer of immunoassay-based test kits.


Under the agreements, Monsanto is licensing the use of their proprietary technology to SDI for the manufacture and sale of these test kits to food processors, their suppliers and regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing the labelling of these products.

SDI recently introduced the Soya Test Kit to detect the presence of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready® herbicide-tolerant trait in soya food ingredients. Shipments of the Soya Test Kits began in the first quarter and SDI expects growth throughout 1999. The development of a Maize Test Kit, which will detect Monsanto’s YieldGard® insect-protected trait in corn-based food ingredients is underway. The latter test will be part of a multi-trait test kit that will detect all the GM traits that have been approved in the European Union. Therefore these tests will conform to the European labelling regulations for corn-based food ingredients.

In March, the EU food labelling regulations became effective for foods derived from GM seeds. To enable consumer choice in selecting food products, the European Commission now requires food companies to label products containing foods or food ingredients derived from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

SDI’s Soya Test Kits have already been validated by the Joint Research Centre’s Food Products Unit of the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection as a test for compliance with the GMO food labelling regulations within the EU member countries.

SDI previously announced that it has entered into an agreement with GeneScan Europe, a global participant in the field of molecular food testing, for the distribution of the Soya Test Kits. The agreement gives GeneScan the exclusive distribution rights for the test kits within Germany and on a non-exclusive basis throughout the other EU countries excluding the United Kingdom.

“The GMO food labelling regulations within the EU member countries have created a significant market opportunity,” said Richard C. Birkmeyer, President and CEO of SDI. “These kits represent a natural extension of SDI’s immunoassay-based testing technology and market position as a leading developer and supplier of rapid tests for genetically engineered traits used in new crop breeding and seed quality control.”

“Monsanto is committed to providing the best tools available to our partners and customers to comply with these new regulations,” said Dr. Roy Fuchs, Monsanto’s Director of Regulatory Science. “We chose SDI for the development of test methods due to their expertise in immunoassay development and production. Monsanto supports the use of immunoassays based on a long history of reliable, accurate, cost effective results. The availability of this enabling technology reinforces our commitment to our customers, our partners and consumer choice.”

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