Consumers urge ban on Starlink
President Bush to stop all exports of U.S. corn and food aid that
may be contaminated...
Consumer and environmental groups around the globe have urged US President Bush to stop all exports of U.S. corn and food aid that may be contaminated with the unapproved Starlink bioengineered variety of corn. A letter, signed by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and other groups in Australia, Germany, India, Ghana, Bangladesh and Brazil, said the United States should block further exports that may contain traces of StarLink corn. Nineteen Japanese groups also signed the letter, reflecting the ongoing concerns of Japanese importers. Japan, the single biggest buyer of U.S. corn, briefly halted its purchases last autumn after the StarLink contamination was found. More than 300 U.S. snack foods, taco shells, and other products containing corn flour were recalled last October because of StarLink contamination. StarLink, a variety engineered to repel destructive pests, was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 for use only as animal feed. Last month StarLink maker Aventis SA (AVEP) announced that the contamination was much broader than first thought. In addition to the 70 million bushels of corn from the 2000 harvest that was contaminated with small amounts of StarLink, Aventis said last month that another 430 million bushels still in storage from the 1999 crop was also tainted. The company, which says its studies show the corn is completely safe for humans to eat, has asked the EPA to grant a four-year approval of StarLink. That would give the corn time to work its way through food processing plants, supermarkets and consumer cupboards, Aventis said. U.S. Agriculture Department officials said last November that food aid shipments would not include any StarLink corn. Once tested and found contaminated, corn is strictly segregated in sealed bins, rain cars or barges and sent to livestock feedlots or to industrial plants for making ethanol, according to USDA officials. Source: Reuters