Archive for Friday, October 13, 2000

Biotech corn withdrawn after entering food supply

October 13, 2000

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— A type of genetically engineered corn that is not approved for food use was withdrawn from the market at the government's urging Thursday after the crop showed up in additional brands of taco shells.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Aventis CropScience agreed to cancel its license to sell the corn, known as StarLink. It is only allowed for use in animal feed because of unresolved questions about whether it can cause allergies in humans.

The health risks from the corn, "if any, are extremely low," the EPA said in a statement. But because "Aventis was responsible for ensuring that StarLink corn only be used in animal feed, and that responsibility clearly was not met, today's action was necessary," the agency said.

Safeway Inc. removed taco shells from its stores Wednesday night after learning of test results that showed the shells may contain the biotech corn. Kraft Foods issued a nationwide recall Sept. 22 of taco shells it sells in grocery stores under the Taco Bell name after similar tests confirmed the presence of the corn.

Aventis already had suspended sales of the seed for next year's crop and agreed to reimburse the government for purchasing all of this year's harvest.

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