Titel: StarLink Tests Didn't Yield Enough Data
For Opinion on Safety, EPA Panel Says
Datum: 19 juli 2001
Bron: The Wall Street Journal
Via: Biotech Activists (biotech_activists@iatp.org)
Posted: 07/19/2001 By blilliston@iatp.org

July 19, 2001

StarLink Tests Didn't Yield Enough Data For Opinion on Safety, EPA Panel Says
ARLINGTON, Va. -- A panel of outside experts told the Environmental
Protection Agency at a hearing here that there was no way to know from
tests conducted last month what level of genetically modified corn, called
StarLink, could trigger an allergy, or if it causes reactions at all.
StarLink corn, engineered by French pharmaceuticals company Aventis SA to
produce its own pesticides, was approved for industrial and animal uses,
but not for human consumption due to allergy concerns. Nevertheless,
because of processing mix-ups, StarLink began appearing in a variety of
corn products last year, prompting wide recalls. It also appeared in corn
and corn seed that was supposed to be StarLink-free. That prompted lawsuits
from grain-elevator operators and others whose products were contaminated.
Aventis has stopped licensing StarLink seed, but officials say it will take
four or five years for the corn to work its way out of the food supply. To
avoid recalls and lawsuits, Aventis wants the EPA to approve a small amount
of StarLink in food until it is gone.
An Aventis official told EPA officials at the hearing that the company was
doing all it could to help get the corn out of the food supply. He also
said processing StarLink into food significantly reduces its presence. If
the EPA approved a tolerance level for StarLink it would help insulate the
company from further lawsuits as well as help grain handlers and others
with products contaminated with the corn.
But members of the advisory panel said the tests didn't provide enough data
for them to give an opinion on the safety of the level of StarLink that
Aventis wants the EPA to approve, 20 parts per billion -- equivalent to one
kernel of StarLink to 800 kernels of nonmodified corn.
Last month, government tests on 17 blood samples from people who claimed
StarLink made them sick showed no evidence that StarLink caused allergic
reactions. Separate tests on food samples that people claimed made them
sick didn't show evidence of containing the Cry9C protein in StarLink which
may cause allergies. But some panel members said they were concerned the
results may not be representative because the Cry9C used in the tests
wasn't derived directly from the corn and such a small number of blood and
food samples were studied.
"It reduces our concern, but can not eliminate our concern about these
individuals reacting to Cry9C protein," said Dean Metcalfe, a panel member.
The panel will issue a formal report on StarLink for the EPA in about a week.