Starlink bio-corn said to be in 430 mln bushels : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Starlink bio-corn said to be in 430 mln bushels Sunday March 18, 1:14 AM EST WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - More than 430 million bushels of corn in storage nationwide contain some of the genetically engineered Starlink variety that prompted a massive recall of corn products last fall, the Washington Post reported on Sunday, quoting the company that made Starlink.

The paper said John Wichtrich, general manager for Aventis Cropscience, a unit of the Franco-German pharmaceutical group Aventis SA (AVEP), would make the announcement in a speech to the North American Millers Association in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday.

Wichtrich's estimate greatly increases estimates of the amount of corn that was inadvertently mixed with the engineered variety, which is not approved for human consumption.

The affected corn -- more than 4 percent of the 1999 U.S. corn production -- will have to be routed to animal feed and ethanol production, the Post said.

Wichtrich will tell the millers that most of the commingled corn was from the 1999 crop and is in grain elevators.

The 430 million-bushel estimate dwarfs the amount of corn reported earlier from the 2000 crop as containing StarLink -- about 50 million bushels grown by farmers licensed to use it and 20 million bushels from neighboring fields.

Wichtrich said 99 percent of the 2000 StarLink corn has been identified and redirected.

The genetically modified protein in Starlink corn, called Cry9C, was barred by U.S. regulators for human use because of concerns it might cause allergic reactions. The discovery of the gene-altered corn in taco shells last September triggered a recall of more than 300 U.S. foods.

The engineered corn apparently was mixed with other corn by farmers inadvertently delivering StarLink to buyers without notifying them, but it also could have occurred by pollen from StarLink fields blowing onto nearby plants.

In his speech, Wichtrich will offer to set up small labs in mills that produce corn meal, grits and flour to ensure that the processed corn does not contain any of the genetically engineered protein in StarLink, according to the Post.

He said that effort had been planned in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration. The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded the protein does not survive the "wet milling" process that makes corn syrup and oil, and Wichtrich said on-site testing of those mills is not required.

In addition, Wichtrich will tell corn processors that the StarLink problem will not go away soon.

"I know you are wondering: Will there ever be an end to this?" the Post quoted him as saying in a copy of his speech. "Unfortunately, as of right now, the answer is 'No' -- there will never be an 'end' as long as there is a zero tolerance for Cry9C in food."§ion=news&news_id=reu-n1780583&date=20010318&alias=/alias/money/cm/nw

-- Martin Thompson (, March 18, 2001


This should be enough reason to ban GM stuff. If they can't keep track of it now, then when more varities are prevelant we won't stand a chance.

-- (, March 18, 2001.

Canada says banned GM corn fed to animals

Saturday, March 17, 2001

Canada's agriculture minister, already under pressure from protesting cash-strapped farmers and worried about foot-and-mouth disease spreading from Europe, admitted Friday that genetically modified corn containing the Starlink gene not approved for use in Canada was accidentally fed to animals. "Some of it did get into the animal feed system," Lyle Vanclief told the House of Commons in response to questions from opposition members about how two shipments of the corn entered Canada from the United States this week.

Vanclief's admission was a reversal of previous statements that one shipment was removed immediately and the second was traced and withdrawn.

The minister, who said there was a "slim chance" the corn had entered the human food chain, has provided few details about the quantity of corn, or how or where it entered Canada. But an opposition member said the corn entered Canada at the port of Montreal.

Food giant Kellogg Co.'s Worthington Foods Inc. this week voluntarily recalled its meat-free corn dogs in the United States after a sample was shown to contain Starlink corn.

The corn, engineered by biotech firm Aventis, is not approved for human consumption in the United States because of concern it may trigger allergic reactions. It is allowed in U.S. animal feed.

In the same week that Ottawa banned all meat imports from Europe to prevent the scourge of foot-and-mouth disease from entering the country, Vanclief had to face angry farmers demanding more government aid to offset low commodity prices and a program to compete with massive farm subsidies in the United States and Europe. stories/2001/03/03172001/reu_corn_42569.asp

-- Martin Thompson (, March 18, 2001.

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