[isml] StarLink Bio-Corn Found in White Corn Products - Post (fwd)

From: Eugene Leitl (Eugene.Leitl@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)
Date: Wed Jul 04 2001 - 07:36:08 MDT

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://www.lrz.de/~ui22204/">leitl</a>
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2001 09:08:42 -0700
From: DS2000 <ds2000@mediaone.net>
Reply-To: isml@Yahoogroups.com
To: isml <isml@Yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [isml] StarLink Bio-Corn Found in White Corn Products - Post

>From Reuters,
Wednesday July 4 2:08 AM ET

StarLink Bio-Corn Found in White Corn Products - Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - StarLink corn, the genetically modified yellow
variety whose presence in food products last fall resulted in widespread
recalls, has been found for the first time in a white corn product, The
Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The Post said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) (FDA)
discovered genetic material from StarLink corn in Kash n' Karry White Corn
Tortilla Chips last month in response to a complaint from a consumer in

An FDA official said the agency did not request a recall, but both the Kash
n' Karry and Food Lion grocery chains pulled the house brand product from
their shelves on Tuesday, according to the paper.

No immediate comment was available from FDA officials or Aventis SA, the
Franco-German pharmaceutical group that makes the biotech corn.

Last fall, many corn chip and tortilla makers switched to white corn, which
makes up less than 3 percent of the U.S. corn market, to reassure consumers
concerned about the possible presence of StarLink in their taco shells and
corn chips.

At the time, producers said the use of white corn eliminated the risk of
inadvertently introducing StarLink into their products.

StarLink, genetically modified by Aventis CropSciences to be resistant to
insects, was barred by U.S. regulators for human use because of concerns it
might trigger allergic reactions such as rashes, diarrhea or breathing

The Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) in 1998 approved the
biotech corn variety, used by farmers to protect young plants from
destructive plants, only for feed use.

But traces of StarLink corn found their way into taco shells, chips and
other food products, triggering the eventual recall of more than 300 U.S.

Dozens of people initially reported experiencing allergic reactions linked
to StarLink-tainted food products last year.

The U.S. government last month released a report showing that 17 people who
had complained of possible allergy attacks after eating corn products had
failed to show any signs of antibodies to StarLink's key component.

But environmentalists said the report was flawed and inconclusive.

The Post said the FDA found the StarLink gene in the white corn chips after
being notified by Keith Finger, a Florida optometrist who was one of the 17
tested earlier.

Finger said his wife bought the white corn chips after hearing reports that
it could not contain StarLink. He said he ate some, suffered another, milder
reaction and immediately contacted the FDA.

The Post quoted an FDA official as saying the agency was ''continuing to
follow up on the situation.''

White corn is grown and distributed separately from yellow corn, and
industry observers said there are no genetically modified varieties.

But they also said it has proven impossible to prevent some commingling of
conventional and modified, as well as white and yellow, corn. The mixing,
they said, could happen at processing plants, during transportation and
through cross-pollination in fields.

An EPA advisory panel of experts will meet in Washington on July 17 to
review new StarLink information and recommend whether or not to grant a
request by Aventis to retroactively approve StarLink for human consumption.

Dan S

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