The USDA said late last week that stringent federal regulations governing the planting of experimental GM crops have been infringed 115 times since 1990.

While none of the violations has harmed US agriculture, the country's food supply or its environment, the report has been greeted with great concern.

Biotech companies and research universities are both to blame for the violations, which occurred during the planning of genetically modified corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops not yet ready for commercialisation, reported Reuters.

Environmental groups have been trying to obtain these records for several years; they have now been published for the first time.

The 115 infractions account for less than 2% of the 7400 tests authorised since 1990, the USDA said. Most are considered 'minor,' such as dirty farm machinery or insufficient isolation from non-GM crops.

However, four of the more serious infringements incurred penalties ranging from US$500-250,000, with Monsanto involved in four of those cases, Reuters commented. Emphasising that most of its infringements were minor, Monsanto said it would publish a list on its website.

Environmental lobbyists said they fear many more infringements go unreported.