Titel: StarLink found in White Corn Tortilla Chips
Datum: 4 juli 2001
Bron: Washington Post page A06
Via: Biotech Activists (biotech_activists@iatp.org)
Posted: 07/04/2001 By blilliston@iatp.org

StarLink found in White Corn Tortilla Chips

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer

StarLink corn, the genetically modified yellow variety whose presence in food products last fall resulted in widespread recalls, has been found for the first time in a white corn product. The discovery underscores the food industry's difficulties in keeping modified and conventional crops apart.
The Food and Drug Administration found genetic material from StarLink corn
in Kash n' Karry White Corn Tortilla Chips last month in response to a
complaint from a consumer in Florida. An FDA official said the agency did
not request a recall, but both the Kash n' Karry and Food Lion grocery
chains pulled the house brand product from their shelves yesterday.
Last fall, many corn chip and tortilla makers switched to white corn --
which makes up less than 3 percent of the American corn market -- to reassure consumers concerned about the possible presence of StarLink in their taco shells and corn chips. At the time, producers said the use of white corn eliminated the risk of inadvertently introducing StarLink into their products.
StarLink, genetically modified by Aventis CropSciences to contain a pesticide protein, was never approved for human use because of concerns that it might cause dangerous allergic reactions. Recent tests by the FDA, however, did not find antibodies to the StarLink protein in 17 people who had complained of possible allergy attacks after eating corn products.

The FDA found the StarLink gene in the white corn chips after being notified by Keith Finger, a Florida optometrist who was one of the 17 tested earlier. Finger said his wife bought the white corn chips after hearing reports that it could not contain StarLink. He said he ate some, suffered another, milder reaction and immediately contacted the FDA.
An FDA spokesperson said the agency was "continuing to follow up on the
situation" but did not elaborate. The presence of StarLink in a white corn product illustrates how difficult it is to keep genetically modified crops from spreading. White corn is grown and distributed separately from yellow corn, and industry observers
said there are no genetically modified varieties. But they also said it has proven impossible to prevent some commingling of conventional and modified, as well as white and yellow, corn. The mixing, they said, could happen at processing plants, during transportation and through cross-pollination in fields.
Thomas Slunecka of the National Corn Growers Association said that it was not surprising that some of the StarLink genetic material might show up in white corn. "In the real world, we need to set acceptable tolerances for these events rather than demand absolute purity," he said.
Last year, Aventis asked the Environmental Protection Agency to retroactively approve StarLink for human use, a move that would save the company and the corn industry money and future headaches. Critics of biotechnology strongly oppose any approval, and say it would reward a company that had promised to keep StarLink out of the human food chain but failed to do so.
An EPA advisory panel of experts will meet in Washington later this month
to review new StarLink information and recommend whether or not to grant
Aventis's request.