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

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Wed Jul 04 2001 - 16:37:02 MDT

Eugene Leitl wrote,
> Subject: [isml] StarLink Bio-Corn Found in White Corn Products - Post
> >From Reuters,

This greatly disturbs me, and could be a setback to the food industry and GM
foods in general.

StarLink corn was banned for human use, yet it was discovered in many human
products. It is a form of yellow corn, but now is being found in white corn
products. This makes it clear that we cannot keep contaminated products out
of our food. Even industry officials say that there is no way they can keep
different kinds of corn separate. Many industries actually switched to
white corn to avoid using StarLink corn, and it still ends up in the food.
This demonstrates the industry's inability to follow laws or safety
procedures to keep contaminates out of food. If anyone does develop a
really dangerous strain of food, it would appear that we would be unable to
keep it out of the general food supply. This needs to be fixed and
addressed if we want to continue developing GM foods in a safe manner.

I am also disturbed by the way this problem was discovered. A Florida
person who had already had a bad reaction to StarLink corn in yellow-corn
products had the same symptoms when he ate the white-corn products. He
deliberately switched to white-corn products to avoid StarLink, and
reportedly had no way to guess that white-corn could ever contain StarLink.
He says that he recognized the side-effect symptoms as being the same, and
he notified the FDA who confirmed the presence of StarLink. This seems to
demonstrate that the side-effects of StarLink are real and not imagined. It
also is very bad PR if GM food is seen as being detectable by the health
problems of consumers who eat them.

If GM foods are to continue to be a viable technology, we must be able to
control it so that we decide whether it goes into our food or not. We also
need better tests to detect side-effects. The industry insisted that there
were no side-effects, and that reported effects were imagined, but here we
have a serious counter-example. These kind of events are going to be the
deciding factor for most consumers. Scientific tests, studies and
explanations simply cannot compete with customer experiences in these areas.
In a battle of memes, the anti-GM factions have won this round.

Harvey Newstrom <> <>

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