After more than a year of intense discussion, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has voluntarily decided to stop growing some crops that are bioengineered for pharmaceutical and industrial purposes. The decision's intent is to ease fears of accidental contamination of food or animal feed in Midwestern and Plains states.

Most immediately, it will bar companies from planting certain types of gene-altered corn in the Midwest. Though voluntary, a dozen companies in the U.S. and Canada that are trying to produce pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals in plants have endorsed it.

If you're in the Corn Belt with a test plot today, you will not be there as a BIO member company in 2003, says Michael Phillips, executive director for BIO.

The industry agreed not to plant such crops in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, most of Missouri and part of Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kentucky.