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Asian countries might turn to Europe for corn

(July 9, 2001 – CropChoice news) – With the South American export season ending, Japan and South Korea may continue trying to avoid buying U.S. corn -- and the accompanying risk of StarLink contamination -- by buying corn from Europe. Ukraine and Hungary have had a good harvest and so would be able to provide corn.

Despite the fact that the U.S. government approved StarLink corn only for use in livestock feed because of concerns it might be allergenic to humans, Aventis’ transgenic variety ended up in the human food chain.

After a man who recently had eaten a bag of white corn chips made by Wise Foods, Inc. reported itching and other allergy symptoms, tests on the chips revealed that they contained small amounts of StarLink. Kash n’ Karry and Food Lion reacted by recalling the white corn chips.

The discovery of StarLink in the food supply last year spawned a recall of 300 products.

When the Japanese discovered the StarLink in their U.S. corn imports, they sharply cut their purchases. Japan imports 12 million tons of corn a year for livestock feed and four million for human consumption. The United States supplied more than 95 percent of that in 2000.

The Korea Corn Processing Industry Association, which annually buys two million tons of corn for human consumption and imports six million tons for animal feed, added Europe to its list, which already included Argentina, Brazil and South Africa. It excludes corn from the United States and China.

Source: Reuters