Monsanto has received a slap on the wrist by the Environmental Protection Agency in regulation related to the corporation's genetically modified corn seeds.
While it may be a small move, the EPA's rule is significant in that the U.S. regulatory body is in discussions about proposing limits on the planting of genetically modified corn.
The move is at the very least a symbolic effort to begin containing the distribution of genetically modified organisms, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The rootworm has been a significant and costly pest in corn farming, and while the EPA ruling is an advancement, it may be a case of too little too late, some scientists say. The EPA is also suggesting farmers alternate planting with another crop, mainly soybean.
In 2012, scientists warned that GMO corn was growing less and less resistant to pests it was developed to repel.
In 2003, Monsanto introduced its corn rootworm protected products, which contain a protein referred to as "Cry3Bb1." GM corn is a big selling item for Monsanto.
The corn has been enabled with the genes to poison worms that feed on the corn's root, but it has not lived up to its billing, mainly because the rootworm has proven to be extremely hardy.
The use of insecticides used on biotech corn, which is what Monsanto wants, is discouraged by scientists, who say insects are growing resistant to the tech. The pests are growing stronger.
Monsanto's rivals in this GMO are DuPont and Dow, which also create a similar corn seed.
The EPA's proposal is under a public comment period until March 16.
The agency has told Monsanto and other GM seed companies it should advise farmers to alternate planting corn with other crops. Monsanto says this is already in practice.
GMO corn able to produce the bug killing protein is estimated to take up to 80 percent of the cornfields in the U.S., and that figure has grown roughly 20 percent since 2000.
Basically, the EPA is requesting the GMO seed-makers to alternate planting to two years of GMO corn, then one year of another crop, like soybean. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures, in the United States, 88 percent of corn, and 94 percent of soy is genetically modified.