ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
Date:  7 November 2000

CORN  CONTAMINATION  UK, DENMARK, US - article urls and press  release

Go to:
for FoE's briefing on this; includes the following:

Monsanto's GA21 maize is resistant to their herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto markets as Roundup.  It has been engineered with a mutated maize gene which also contains DNA from rice, sunflower and the bacteria Agrobacterium.

The maize has one full and two partial copies of this gene. The novel protein produced is similar (~80% similarity), but not the same, to the one found in unmodified maize. It is produced in the GM
maize at a level 10 times that of the naturally occurring (unmutated) gene.

...Legal situation
Monsanto's GA21 maize is not approved in Europe.  Before GM crops can be sold in the EU they must obtain both a marketing approval and a 'novel food' safety approval. GA21 has neither.
[see FoE's press release below]

*  *  *
Alert over 'GM tortillas' - BBC online
GM maize is found in tortilla snacks
Four leading supermarkets launched investigations today after tests commissioned by Friends of the Earth detected banned genetically modified maize in the stores' own-brand tortilla chips.
GM maize found in supermarket chips
Monsanto Commits Support For Food Companies and Farmers
"ST. LOUIS, Nov. 5 -- Monsanto Company today promised full support to European  food companies and regulatory agencies in response to unproven activist allegations  about the corn in taco chips and is acting to protect markets for farmers and their  grain." (PRNewswire)
US won't donate StarLink corn to poor nations - USDA
"WASHINGTON - The tens of millions of bushels of StarLink biotech corn collected  from American farmers will not be donated to foreign countries as part of federal food assistance programmes, a senior US  Agriculture Department official told Reuters on Friday." (Reuters)
Corn-Recall Cost Could Reach Into the Hundreds of Millions
"The recall of StarLink genetically modified corn could cost companies all along the  food chain hundreds of millions of dollars as they attempt to find, retrieve and replace products that used the corn." (WSJ)
For Immediate Release, 6 November 2000
Contacts: Mark Helm, 202-783-7400 x102, 202-270-3650 cell
Larry Bohlen, 202-783-7400 x251
Adrian Bebb, FoE UK, 011 44 7712 843 211
Foods Contaminated by Genetically Engineered U.S. Corn Found in the United Kingdom, Denmark - Monsanto Corn Is Not Approved for Human Consumption in Europe

Friends of the Earth Europe announced a finding of food contamination by engineered corn grown and marketed in the U.S. but not approved for human consumption in Europe.  The corn variety is Roundup Ready (GA21), produced by Monsanto.

"This shocking discovery is the latest in a growing list of biotech blunders. It's becoming increasingly clear that the biotech industry can't control its products and government regulation is pathetically
lax," said Adrian Bebb, of the Real Food campaign at Friends of the Earth, United Kingdom.

FoE Europe commissioned laboratory tests, similar to those conducted in the U.S. to check for Starlink corn, on 31 products including tortilla chips, taco shells, polenta and corn flakes.  In the UK, the tests found that Phileas Fogg AuthenticTM Tortilla Chips and house-brand tortilla chips sold by grocers Safeway and Asda contained Monsanto's GA21 corn.

Kims ZapatasTM, purchased in Denmark, also tested positive for the presence of GA21.  The analysis was performed by GeneScan in Freiburg, Germany, one of Europe's top laboratories.  FOE Europe is demanding that all the contaminated products be recalled.

Monsanto is currently seeking safety approval for GA21.  Earlier this year UK's Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) concluded that there was insufficient inormation on whether the corn which contains DNA from bacteria, rice, and sunflower, could provoke allergic reactions.  The concern is similar to the U.S. EPA ruling that Starlink corn has "characteristics of known allergens" due to the bacterial toxin engineered into its cells, but that allergenicity had not been determined.

"Biotech companies like Monsanto and Aventis are marketing foods laced with bacterial toxins and antibiotic resistance genes whether people want them or not," said Larry Bohlen, Director of Health and Environment Programs at Friends of the Earth, U.S.  "Now, with contamination by a different unapproved corn out in the open, American companies exporting to Europe could take a pounding."

A briefing paper by FoE UK may be found at after 10 am.

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