SWISS BIOTECH firm Syngenta has admitted that its unapproved Bt10 GM maize was mistaken for its approved Bt11 variety and entered the human food chain.

The incident came to light last week (w/e Mar 25), following a story in Nature magazine.

Syngenta admitted that several hundred tonnes of Bt10 had been sold to US farmers in the belief that it was Bt11, and some of this may have entered normal export channels.

Lobby group Friends of the Earth revealed that the Bt10 variety contains an antibiotic resistant marker gene not present in Bt11, which it claimed could be a health risk.

But Syngenta played down the revelation.

Company spokesman Markus Payer said: “The US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drugs Administration agree it does not infer any health risk.”